China Warns Israel

The Chinese Foreign Ministry makes it very clear whose side China is on, and that the Chinese government will not endorse an Israeli invasion of Gaza:

AFP: Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi made comments yesterday on the recent situation in the Middle East. He said that the Palestinian question is at the core of the Middle East issue and the crux is that justice has eluded the Palestinians for too long. Can you elaborate on that?

Wang Wenbin: On October 12, Member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and Director of the Office of the Central Commission for Foreign Affairs Wang Yi talked with Celso Luiz Nunes Amorim, chief advisor of the Presidency of Brazil, on the phone with a focus on sharing views on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

Director Wang Yi noted that China is deeply saddened by the rising tension between Palestine and Israel and the huge civilian casualties. He said China opposes acts that harm civilians and condemns violations of international law. China calls on all parties to exercise restraint, de-escalate the situation on the ground as soon as possible and prevent further expansion of the conflict. The top priority is to ensure the safety of civilians, and open corridors for aid so as to avoid a severe humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

Director Wang Yi pointed out that the Palestinian question is at the core of the Middle East issue. He said the crux of the issue is that justice has eluded the Palestinians for too long. The current conflict showed again in an extremely brutal way that solution to the Palestinian question lies in resuming genuine peace talks as soon as possible and realizing the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people. China calls for an international peace conference with greater authority and impact as soon as possible to galvanize a more broad-based international consensus with the two-state solution serving as its basis and formulate a timetable and roadmap to that end. The UN has the responsibility and obligation to play its due role on the Palestinian question. China supports the Security Council in holding an emergency meeting on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, agrees that the meeting should focus on humanitarian concerns, demand a ceasefire, an end to violence and the protection of civilians, form a binding international consensus and take concrete next-steps. China will stay in contact and coordinate and cooperate closely with Brazil and relevant parties in this regard. 

Amorim said that the key to resolving the conflict is to resume peace talks, and Brazil is ready to closely coordinate with China to work jointly to ease the situation. 

The Chinese diplomats always utilize positive and neutral language, but in a way that leaves little room to misinterpret what they’re saying.

Translation: follow through on your threats to enter Gaza and we will backstop the support provided by Iran and Russia to Hezbollah and the Palestinians.

The Global Times made it even more explicit, just in case the message didn’t get through.

China’s top diplomat Wang Yi said Israel’s actions have gone beyond the scope of self-defense, expressing concerns about the escalating Israel-Palestine conflict as Israel ordered one million people from the northern part of Gaza to evacuate within 24 hours as it prepared for a ground assault.

No wonder Netanyahu and his generals are thinking long and hard about this one. I expect they’re going to roll the dice anyhow, though, because they have about as much military support from the US as they’re likely to receive in the foreseeable future. I’d like to be wrong, indeed, I very much hope I’m wrong, but the stark reality is that this may be Israel’s last, best, chance at ethnically cleansing Gaza and taking another big step toward Greater Israel that they’re ever going to have.