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80 percent of Palestinians welcome Chinese offer to mediate with Israel, US seen as least favorite option

80 percent of Palestinians welcome Chinese offer to mediate with Israel, US seen as least favorite option

LONDON: Majority of Palestinians view China and Russia as potentially effective mediators for their peace talks with the state of Israel, a recent survey revealed.

The survey, conducted by YouGov in May at the request of Arab News, showed that Palestinians’ most preferred potential peace broker was Russia, followed closely by the European Union and China, while the US proved far from popular among the residents of the West Bank and Gaza.

Commenting on the results of the survey on the preferences of Palestinians, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova concluded: “Because Russia has not betrayed those who pinned their hopes on it.”

The Information and Press Department (IPD) of the Russian Foreign Ministry said: “Moscow, as it stated in IPD’s comment to Arab News, continues to believe that the existing international legal framework, the Arab peace initiative in Al-Taif and the groundwork that has been achieved between Israelis and Palestinians throughout the negotiation process on the basis of (a) two-state solution can serve as a foundation for resuming direct negotiations between the parties to the conflict.”

“Our position is clear, unchangeable and not subject to political conjuncture,” the IPD added. “We are constantly talking about this to our Palestinian friends and the Israeli side as well.”

In October last year, the Palestinian Authority told Russian President Vladimir Putin people in Palestine may consider US mediation only if it is part of the Quartet, a foursome of nations that includes Russia.

Following Beijing’s success in brokering the Saudi-Iranian diplomatic agreement in March, a sweeping 80 percent of the survey respondents, who expressed a clear opinion on the topic, supported a Chinese role in Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

In December, President Xi Jinping expressed during an official visit to Riyadh his country’s keenness to help resolve the conflict between Saudi Arabia and Iran. This led to five days of intense talks in March in Beijing, delivering an agreement that entails a respect of sovereignty of regional countries, the restoration of diplomatic ties, and the revival of previously agreed bilateral treaties between Iran and Saudi Arabia.

In the wake of this success, China offered in April, amid rising tension in Jerusalem, to facilitate peace talks between Israel and Palestine, urging their resumption as soon as possible.

Contrary to the stance on China, almost 60 percent of participants did not trust the US to mediate Palestinian-Israeli negotiations despite that – or perhaps because – 86 percent believed the US had significant influence over Israel.

“Palestinians have never seen the US as a neutral or fair broker,” said director of the London-based Council for Arab-British Understanding (CAABU), Chris Doyle, adding that “the (Palestinian) leadership has tolerated the US because, quite simply, as the world’s sole superpower for many years, (they) have had no choice.”

Read the complete article here.

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