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Israeli plan to join BRI and its effects on U.S. national security

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 After China officially announced its Belt and Road initiative, the Israeli side worked from the outset to be an essential and genuine part of it.  This was explicitly announced by the Israeli diplomat “Hagai Shagrir” in his capacity as Director of the Northeast Asia Department at the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, by stressing that:

 “The Chinese Belt and Road Initiative brings more business opportunities to Israeli companies in the field of infrastructure projects, and Israel considers itself part of the 21st century Maritime Silk Road, which makes its way from the South China Sea to the Mediterranean”.

 In another interview with “Hagai Shagrer”, Director of the Asia and Pacific Office at the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, he confirmed the possibility of Israel joining the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative by asserting that:

“The Belt and Road Initiative is a long-term vision and a positive initiative”

 In view of the seriousness of Hagai Shagrir’s position, in his capacity as director of the Asia and Pacific Office at the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs and as a liaison between China and Tel Aviv, his danger lies in his preparation by Tel Aviv to deal with China since he was a young man. In 1991, the Israeli diplomat “Hagai Shagrir” traveled  to China, when he was just a young student, Shagrir traveled to China as a wandering tourist. Here, “Hagai Shagrir” has held his current position as the Director Responsible for the Asia Pacific Office since September 2016. Prior to that, Shagrir worked in two Israeli consulates in China: the Israeli consulate in Guangzhou, the capital of Guangdong Province in southern China, and the Israeli consulate in Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan Province in southwestern China.  We find that at the present time, “Shagrir” pays several business visits to China, ranging between three or four times annually.

 The Israeli shores, from Gaza to Haifa, represent one of the main stations of the Belt Road and the old road before Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian state, which was more than a thousand years ago, to connect the Indian Ocean with the Mediterranean Sea, through the Gulf of Aqaba and the Suez Canal, through the giant Israeli infrastructure project, known as (the Peace Railway, or the Eilat-Ashdod Port Railway).

 The Israeli occupation authorities took the initiative to sign early on the partnership in the Asian Infrastructure Bank, which was established by China as part and essential input of the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative.

The danger of Israeli planning also enables it to be part of the Chinese Belt and Road initiative to benefit from Chinese projects and investments, by completing (a railway project from the Gulf through Saudi Arabia, passing through Jordan to Palestine).

   The idea of ​​this project for China is based on: building a railway extending from (the Palestinian shores, starting from Gaza to Haifa, as an important Chinese station on the Silk Road), and although the actual authority is for Israel over this region that is an important extension of the Chinese belt and road, and it is an occupation authority. However, China does not stop at that point for much, what is important is (the extent of Israel’s desire as an authority controlling this sensitive and very important area for China on the Mediterranean coast to deal with the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative).

  Israel seeks to invest in the recent normalization agreements with the Arab regimes, and the undeclared relations with some other regimes, through projects that serve the Israeli integration into the Chinese initiative, most notably:

   (A railway project that could extend from the Gulf through Saudi Arabia, passing through Jordan), and as long as the Chinese and Israeli sides talked about their joint plans to establish this railway line, all the way through (the occupied Palestinian territories to Haifa on the Mediterranean Sea, which if it happens, it will be the most aspiration  To Israel, as in addition to reaping huge profits as a result of this short and effective line for it), it will perpetuate the Israeli side as a natural part within the international system in the region, which is (which harms Egyptian and Arab national security and the system of active forces in the Middle East region).

  What appears to show that the Israeli side has a desire to participate in the projects of the Chinese initiative is the Israeli signing of the partnership in the (Asian Infrastructure Bank), in addition to the growing joint projects between the two sides in the field of economy and armaments that are integrated with the projects of the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative.

  And because of this strict American opposition to Chinese cooperation with Israel, Israeli objections continued in the face of American interference in its affairs to cooperate with Beijing.  One of the most prominent phrases of the former head of the Israeli intelligence service (Mossad), “Yossi Cohen”, on June 7, 2020, who stepped down in June 2020 from his post, was his phrase:

 “I don’t understand what the Americans want from China. If someone understands that, he should explain it to me… China does not oppose us and is not our phrase”

  In this context, Washington considers with concern the impact of Israeli cooperation with China on its national security, and the United States of America’s fears increased following the Israeli mention of the possibility of officially joining the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative after Tel Aviv joined the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, and here came Washington’s dealings with great concern, with China’s building the new port for Israel in the city of Haifa, with the vision of the CIA, that the permanent presence of China in the Israeli port means that there is a golden opportunity for Tel Aviv to collect intelligence information, such as: facilitating China’s monitoring of the movements of American ships, as it facilitates this for the Chinese Developing electronic monitoring systems that endanger US cyber security.

 The visit of “William Burns”, Director of the CIA, to Israel in August 2021 brought to the fore the United States’ fears of growing economic and technological cooperation between Tel Aviv and Beijing, which Washington believes “affects its national security”. The most prominent here is that immediately after William Burns, Director of the CIA, visited Israel, Israel, and as a result of American pressure on it, replaced the Shanghai International Ports Group, which was supposed to manage a new container terminal in Haifa Port, with a well-known Emirati company, the “Shanghai International Ports Group DP World”.

 Here, Washington considers its national security in danger when it comes to any kind of partnership between its main ally in the Middle East, “Israel” and China.  Washington’s reservations also came when the well-known Chinese billionaire “Li Kaching” donated $130 million to the (Israeli Technion Research Institute).

 We note here that all Chinese companies that invest or build major infrastructure projects in Israel have relations with the Israeli government, military entities, or armed forces.  It is likely that any large-scale Israeli company in the People’s Republic of China will have unofficial or official links to the Chinese government, and it is expected that there will be cooperation with its intelligence and security services.  Of course, Washington will not accept the transfer of technology related to US defense located in Israel to Beijing, and the US authorities have concerns that China may obtain technologies or collect intelligence information to threaten the national security of the United States of America in the field of cyber, satellite communications, artificial intelligence and robots.

  Israel also views the Chinese initiative as a source of profit, in light of the availability of its modern infrastructure, which does not need a long time to be integrated or developed to integrate with the proposed initiative projects, unlike other Asian countries that seek to join the Chinese Silk Road, and perhaps one of the most important projects  What the Chinese and Israeli parties aim to implement in this context is: the use and development of the road from (the port of Eilat on the Red Sea by land to the ports of Ashdod, Ashkelon and Haifa).

 Chinese and Israeli interests actually intersect in several regions around the world, which are vital to the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative, including the African continent, the Middle East, Central Asia, and the Caucasus region, where both Beijing and Tel Aviv seek to invest in those regions and sell advanced weapons to them, as relations represent  The distinction between Israel, South Korea and Japan – who are opponents of Beijing – is a source of competition at the same time between China and Tel Aviv.

  Signs of the American concern about the possibilities of (the militarization of the Chinese project of the Belt and Road through that Aviv) began, as Washington began to think deeply to rein in the Israeli side with all the implications of this trend of the necessities of deep thinking, on how to deal with this possibility, whose signs began with China establishing a base  Military in the state of Djibouti in the Horn of Africa.  There is also a report by the US Department of Defense “The Pentagon” that was submitted to the US Congress, which suggested this possibility. He refers to the possibility of building military bases or facilities for China in the state of Pakistan and in countries that have previous experiences in hosting foreign military bases, specifically in the Middle East region.

 The same trend occurred on December 8, 2021, when the CIA warned that Beijing intends to establish a permanent military base on the coast of Equatorial Guinea, which would give it a naval capability in the Atlantic Ocean against the United States of America.

 Washington fears that the Chinese presence in the city of Haifa and the granting of facilities there by Tel Aviv, may be a Chinese focal point for collecting information about the US Sixth Fleet present in that region, which Washington considers very dangerous.

 On the other hand, there are many controversial points between Israel and China, the most prominent of which is Israel’s position on the issue of the Uighur Muslims in the Chinese “Xinjiang” region, and this was confirmed by the (Israeli Walah website), by leaking that “Neug Jin Chao”, who is one of the Chinese diplomats  The adults handed the Israeli ambassador a sharp message saying that Israel’s relationship with China has reached a critical stage.

 Likewise, the strict Chinese objection to Israel’s relations with Taiwan, which was evident in the Chinese government’s sending, through the head of the International Affairs Department of the Chinese Communist Party, “Liu Jianchao” in August 2022, a strongly worded letter to the Israeli ambassador in Beijing, “Irit Bin Aba,” to warn her of  Allowing American pressure to harm Israel’s relationship with Beijing, with China asserting that it can never tolerate any country that supports Taiwan.

  Here we will find strained relations between China and Israel following the Chinese objection to the press interview of the Israeli “Jerusalem Post” website with the Taiwanese Foreign Minister “Joseph Wu” in October 2022, so the Chinese embassy in Tel Aviv sent a stern warning at the time to the journalist “Jacob Katz”, editor-in-chief  The Jerusalem Post newspaper demanded that he immediately delete the interview from the Israeli website, and Chinese diplomats made several calls to the Israeli journalist “Jacob Katz”, objecting to the interview with a minister of state, namely Taiwan, which is not recognized by most countries of the world, including the United States of America itself, and which it considers  China is an integral part of its national soil.  Therefore, the Chinese diplomatic threat to immediately cut off relations with the Israeli newspaper came, along with the Chinese threat to downgrade relations with Israel in the event that the interview with the Taiwanese foreign minister was not deleted in order to prevent provocation from China.  And this strong threat from the Chinese authorities proved that Beijing is ready to attack Israel, if the positions of the Hebrew state conflict with Chinese policies.

  We must also understand the conflicting Chinese and Israeli position on the Iranian nuclear agreement, and the Israeli position on the 25-year strategic partnership agreement between China and Iran, with the United States of America and its Israeli ally seeing it from a perspective different from Beijing, which sheds light on the interests and alliances of each party, as it sees  Washington and Tel Aviv that the 25-year agreement between China and Iran carries an implicit message to the American side about perpetuating competition for global influence and through which China sought to move from a trading country to a sovereign state.  The American and Israeli sides view Iran, through the agreement concluded between it and China for a period of 25 years, that it may become an advanced base for China in the same spheres of influence of the United States of America and its allies in Europe and the West.  In the context of Chinese relations with the Hebrew state, we can understand the Chinese position through the message of the Chinese representative to the United Nations, and his assertion that: “The United States of America must respond to Iran’s demands instead of exaggerating the problems between them.”  Of course, this position affects the relationship between China and the Israeli occupation authority, which is always looking for any international support to stand with it against Iran in its nuclear agreement with it.

  As we know, China is focusing on developing Iranian ports, specifically (the port of Chahbar overlooking the Arabian Sea).  It is also possible and the case that China will depend on Iranian oil at the expense of its imports from other oil-producing and exporting countries.

  It should be noted here that Israeli President “Isaac Herzog” made a phone call to his Chinese counterpart, “Xi Jinping” in 2021 in the first phone call between them, expressing his concern to Beijing about the repercussions of Iran’s possession of a nuclear program, calling on a number of experts in Tel Aviv to persuade Beijing to put pressure on Tehran.  to stop its nuclear program and activity.

 On the Syrian side, Beijing criticized any Israeli military escalation in Syria, for fear of targeting its interests there, with the presence of many experts and thousands of Chinese workers in Syrian military facilities for reconstruction, and Beijing provided several aids to Damascus in order to improve the communications infrastructure, which raises concerns among the intelligence agency.  American centralism from the possibility of using it in espionage operations against Tel Aviv and American interests there, as Tel Aviv fears at the same time the improvement of the Syrian economic and military capabilities by China, which represents a long-term threat to it, in addition to the Israeli and American fears at the same time of buying Syria  For advanced Chinese defense systems, which will inevitably work to raise the efficiency of the Syrian Air Defense Forces to repel any future Israeli attacks on the Syrian territories and the Israeli-occupied Syrian Golan Heights.

 The former Mossad chief “Danny Yatom”, warned of any Israeli mistake to strike Chinese workers in Syria, which would eventually lead to a crisis and tension in relations between Beijing and Tel Aviv. The latter also fears the nature of Chinese investments and commercial projects in Syria, which may be a cover for military and  Intelligence projects that will represent restrictions on Israeli dealings with the Syrian file, especially since Beijing helped Damascus to obtain a ballistic missile program and a chemical weapons program on Syrian soil, which harms Tel Aviv and US national security in favor of the Bashar al-Assad regime in Syria, which arouses the anger and fears of the Americans and the Israelis on the nature of military intelligence cooperation between Syria and China.

 Here, a number of Israeli military and security leaders, and a number of American military officials shared with them in this approach, made several statements, in which they expressed “reservations about the Israeli rush behind” the giant Chinese state that establishes alliances with the enemies of Israel”, in reference to a number of Arab countries, the enemy of Israel, such as Syria and the Hezbollah group and Iran.

Here we understand the extent of the Israeli desire also to develop their relations with China to curb and restrict military sales, especially missiles, from China to certain Arab countries, especially Syria, Lebanon and perhaps Yemen, as the Israelis believe that some of these Chinese missiles will reach the Lebanese Hezbollah group in southern Lebanon.  , which represents a threat to Israeli national security on the border with Lebanon.

  Here we can briefly understand the map of the relationship between China and Israel and its impact on each other and on the security of Washington, China and Tel Aviv itself, with the conflicting interests of each of them towards the other, through the categorical Chinese rejection of the positions of the hard-line and extremist Israeli right led by the Israeli Prime Minister “Benjamin Netanyahu” towards  Iran and the Palestinian issue, in addition to the current hard-line stances of the Netanyahu government towards the policy of settlements and the rights of the Palestinians, which insists on continuing the policy of settlement and Judaization and resolving the fate of the occupied Palestinian territories through the policy of fait accompli. The Chinese side also looking so angrily at the negative attitudes of the Israelis regarding the continuation of trade and military relations with Taiwan, the visit of Israeli party or academic figures, and Israel’s reception of the Dalai Lama, the leader of the Buddhist community from the Chinese province of Tibet, who is fleeing abroad.

 Here lies the danger of Israel joining the Chinese Belt and Road initiative in the foreseeable future, which is also the direct reason for the escalation of the tone of the American protests, against the background of China’s investment in the light rail system in Tel Aviv, which is expected to start work in (the vicinity of the General Staff).  Israel in the center of Tel Aviv and near the Israeli naval base in Ashdod), which constitutes a direct threat to US national security on the part of Israel, so Washington opposes any actual Israeli attempts to join the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative, to ensure that China does not enter through it to the proximity of sensitive military, security and vital Israeli places at the expense of the American national security system in the Hebrew state and the Middle East region as a whole.

  Finally, and the new analysis remains in this context, it is the impact of Israeli-Chinese cooperation within the framework of the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative on American influence in the Indian Ocean and Central Asia and the Pacific regions, or what is known as the “Indo-Pacific” region in the American sense or Asia-Pacific in the concept. Therefore, Israel’s illegal transfer (according to the accusations of the Americans) of advanced technologies to China has caused great harm to the Japanese technologies that are America’s allies in the “Indo-Pacific” region, as well as to the Americans themselves, according to estimates of the Pacific Command of the US Army, near the spheres of influence of China.

Associate Professor of Political Science, Faculty of Politics and Economics / Beni Suef University- Egypt. An Expert in Chinese Politics, Sino-Israeli relationships, and Asian affairs- Visiting Senior Researcher at the Centre for Middle Eastern Studies (CMES)/ Lund University, Sweden- Director of the South and East Asia Studies Unit

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Middle East

Unleashing an Iranian tiger

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A Gulf investor with an analytical and artistic bent, Ali al-Salim pinpointed the long-term challenges Saudi Arabia faces as it reestablishes relations with Iran.

While most analysts focused on the immediate reduction of regional tensions and the possible opening for an end to the eight-year-long Saudi military intervention in Yemen as a result of a Chinese-mediated agreement to restore diplomatic relations between two Middle Eastern arch-rivals, Mr. Al-Salim is looking at Iran’s long-term competitive edge compared to the kingdom.

“As relations between Saudi and Iran begin to thaw, the logic for Saudi’s ambitious ‘Trojena’ ski resort will come further into question. Iran boasts world-class ski resorts an hour from Tehran and 90km of slopes. Oh, and it’s all natural, even the snow,” Mr. Al-Salim said on Twitter.

Mr. Al-Salim was referring to a yet-to-be-built resort on mountain peaks overlooking Neom slated to be home to 7,000 people by 2026 and annually attract 700,000 visitors. Trojena would be the Gulf’s first outdoor ski resort.

Neom is Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s US$500 billion fantasia. It is a futuristic science-fiction-like new city and tourism destination along the Red Sea in a mostly unpopulated part of the kingdom.

Somewhat incongruously, the Olympic Council of Asia has awarded Trojena the right to host the 2029 Asian Winter Games.

In contrast to Iran’s up to 5,600-metre high, 600-kikometer-long Alborz mountain range that stretches along the Caspian Sea, snow falls occasionally on Trojena’s 2,400-metre high Sarawat mountains.

To compensate for its shortage, Trojena plans to create an outdoor ski slope by blasting artificial snow on the mountains. This slope would be powered by renewable energy.

In Mr. Al-Salim’s mind, Trojena appears to be emblematic of the broader challenge posed by an Iran that eventually is freed of the shackles of crippling US sanctions and has rebuilt its economy.

Unshackled and recovered, Iran brings to the table much that Saudi Arabia has and more. With a population close to 90 million, Iran is almost three times the size of the kingdom. It ranks as the world’s third-largest oil and second-largest natural gas reserve holder.

Beyond boasting one of the Middle East’s largest domestic markets, an innovative and technology-savvy youth, a deep-seated identity rooted in empire, and a battle-hardened military, Iran occupies strategic geography at the crossroads of Central Asia, the Middle East and Europe, and a coastline along the Arabian Sea, the western end of the Indo-Pacific.

To be sure, Iran has a long way to go to fully capitalize on its assets with no immediate prospect of its clerical regime doing what it would take to persuade the United States to lift sanctions, rebuild confidence with its neighbors, including Saudi Arabia, and introduce necessary political, economic, and social reforms.

As a result, Saudi Arabia has a first-starter advantage, which Mr. Bin Salman is bent on exploiting with his social reforms and efforts to diversify the Saudi economy to reduce the kingdom’s dependence on oil exports, of which Trojena is one building block.

Even so, the restoration of diplomatic relations with Saudi Arabia constitutes a first step to strengthen the Iranian economy. This would enable Iran to position itself as not just a formidable political rival but also an economic competitor.

“Evidently, de-escalation will reduce the cost of regional security for all parties and free up more potential for trade and cross-border investments and partnerships that the region needs,” said Bijan Khajehpour, a keen observer of the Iranian economy.

Iranian hopes have been buoyed by plans by the United Arab Emirates to boost annual trade with Iran to US$30 billion in the next two years, up from $20 billion in 2022, Emirati interest in Iranian infrastructure, including the strategic Arabian Sea port of Chahbahar, and prospects for Saudi investment in the Islamic republic.

Saudi Finance Minister Mohammed al-Jadaan recently told a private sector forum of Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund that investment in Iran could happen “very quickly.”

Optimistically, Mr. Al-Jadaan went on to say that “there are a lot of opportunities for Saudi investments in Iran. We don’t see impediments as long as the terms of any agreement would be respected.”

Mr. Al-Jadaan’s remarks did not refer to US sanctions, the elephant in the room. Instead, he hinted at Iran’s need to clean up multiple legal and operational ambiguities that pose obstacles to foreign investment, even without considering externally imposed restrictions.

Laying out a roadmap for Saudi and Gulf investment in Iran, Mr. Khajehpour suggested that initially, investors could target non-sanctioned industries, such as food and pharmaceuticals while developing “creative banking and financial solutions” that would enable circumvention of sanctions.

Furthermore, Mr. Khajehpour held out the possibility that the United States could provide waivers for investments that address water scarcity and climate change.

If and when sanctions are lifted, the sky is the limit.

Opportunities range from cooperation on petroleum products and petrochemicals, development of an offshore Saudi-Iranian-Kuwaiti gas field, and connecting electricity grids, to investment in transportation linkages, according to Mr. Khajehpour.

Saudi interest in getting in on the ground floor of Iran’s eventual reemergence extends beyond geopolitical, security, economic, and commercial considerations.

Economic cooperation has the potential to blunt the impact of an unleashed Iran by making the kingdom a partner.

“Iran’s rise is inevitable. When it happens, the Middle East will be a different place. Saudi Arabia knows that. It sees the short- and long-term benefits of recalibrating relations with Iran. Iran hasn’t quite thought that far but ultimately it will,” said a European official who closely monitors Middle Eastern developments.

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Middle East

The New Middle East: The Winners and Losers

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The Middle East and the Gulf regions are experiencing a political and diplomatic movement that they have not witnessed in the last three or four decades.

Behind this movement are the influential states such as Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Iran and, to a lesser extent, Egypt. A few years ago, it was impossible to imagine any political or diplomatic rapprochement between Saudi Arabia and Iran, between Turkey and Egypt, and between a number of Arab states and Syria.

For decades, the US has been working on a “New Middle East” that embraces Israel, and then the circumstances tend towards a “new one that includes Iran!

What led to this movement, which will have repercussions on alliances and threads of differences?

There are several regional and other remote factors that are no less influential.

Domestically, it is clear that the region, with its leaders and people, is tired of wars and turmoil and is now envious of the world’s progress while it is mired in its endless complexes and crises.

Internationally, it is possible to talk about the US role and then the political and social changes in Europe coinciding with the rise of international powers on the periphery such as India, China and others, and finally the war in Ukraine.

The beginning was with the arrival of President Donald Trump and his resort to painful language in its frankness, which does not hide that the man does not respect the region and its leaders, but rather considers it a mere bazaar in which he markets whatever he wants without objection from anyone, and a mere ATM that withdraws from it whenever he wants and as much as he wants. Not to mention his frankness that he will not fight wars on behalf of a region he deems lazy and backward and refuses to rely on itself. Trump embodied this conviction when he refused to strike Iran in response to the dangerous Houthi attacks on oil facilities in Saudi Arabia in mid-September 2019.

This crude frankness and lack of respect led the Middle East and the Gulf region, especially states that considered the United States an eternal ally such as Saudi Arabia, to ask: What will the Democrats do to us if Trump, our Republican ally, disrespects us like this?

Then came their reply. The Democrats did not wait long after Joe Biden came to the White House to take an approach similar to Trump’s, but for other reasons and from a different mentality. In addition to the annoyance of Saudi Arabia and other states in the region about the issues of rights and freedoms hinted at by the Biden administration, there is the great confusion shown by this administration in dealing with the problems of the region, in contrast to Trump’s frankness, and its excessive interest in the conflict with China and later the war in Ukraine at the expense of the US’s allies traditionalists in this region.

The Trump and Biden administrations should be given credit for waking up the leaders of the Middle East and the Gulf, because their approaches were a wake-up call that it would be dangerous to ignore. The service provided by the two administrations to the staff of the region is that they are equal in their disdain for everyone: Saudi Arabia, Turkey, the UAE, Egypt, Jordan, with a keenness to further strangle Iran and Syria for well-known reasons.

In the midst of that labor, Russia’s war broke out against Ukraine to shuffle the cards across the world, but specifically in the Middle East and the Gulf regions due to its traditional strategic tensions and its richness in oil and natural resources, and the need for both conflict camps to gain its support for it.

As far as the Ukraine war and above all Europe, it constituted a wake-up call in the positive direction of the Gulf leaders. The Ukraine war was an outlet for these leaders on more than one level. It first gave them the opportunity to maneuver and express their displeasure with the US insults. And I gave them an alternative that is no less powerful than the traditional West, which they can deal with in better conditions and without insults, which is the camp of Russia, China and dozens of states that swim in their orbit around the world.

It would be a mistake to be overly optimistic about this multi-faceted movement. Realism requires acknowledging that the more exceptional it is, the more reasons for its failure it contains in the absence of sufficient sophistication and the required sacrifices from all parties. One of the weaknesses of this movement is that it is the result of pressure, driven by need, not by conviction. Iran is stifled by sanctions and the unstable internal situation. Saudi Arabia can no longer tolerate a single missile from the Houthis. The economy and financial situation in Türkiye is in dire straits. Egypt is not moved by anything other than “rice”. The regime in Syria wants to get out of its isolation, which will be the culmination of what it considers a victory over its opponents. The UAE wants to prove to US that it is not everything in this universe.

This is on the political level. On the practical level, there are many obstacles that will stand in the way of this movement, especially when it comes to Saudi Arabia, Iran, Egypt and Turkey. It is a good coincidence (and bad at the same time) that normalization (or lack thereof) between Riyadh and Tehran will be reflected far beyond the two states, and the same applies to Ankara and Cairo.

Saudi Arabia and Iran are separated by political, religious and strategic differences that are not easy to overcome. The theaters of confrontation between the two states are vast, including Yemen, Bahrain, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon, and inevitably there are other areas and issues that constitute points of contention.

Turkey and Egypt are stuck on many issues, most notably the Muslim Brotherhood, Libya and the energy fields in the Mediterranean. In addition to Egyptian foreign policy that is not completely independent and directed by the winds of the Gulf, Turkish foreign files, including normalization with Egypt, remain dependent on the results of the presidential elections scheduled in Turkey in late May.

It will also be necessary for the Arab and Gulf leaders who decided to engage in this movement, taking into account that the United States will not easily accept maneuvers behind its back in a region that it has considered guaranteed for more than seventy years. There is also the position of Israel, which will not accept the rehabilitation of the Iranian regime in the region, and will not easily swallow that the region has favored Iran.

The consolation is that this movement is not isolated from what is happening in the world, but is part of it. What is happening in the world outweighs the US and Israel and is happening against their will. It is an opportunity that will not be repeated easily if the region knows how to benefit from it for the benefit of all.

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Middle East

How Beijing take advantage of US’s attempts to get rid of Netanyahu and expel him from power?

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What caught my eye most after the success of Netanyahu’s hard-line government in Israel in January 2023 was the same American fear of its hard-line policies against the Palestinians and the region, especially after the Israeli occupation authorities announced an increase and expansion in the number of settlements and settlement units in the West Bank and occupied Jerusalem. Indeed, real American signs began to get rid of the Netanyahu government in Israel.  In addition to the American fears circulating on the horizon in anticipation of any rapprochement between China and Israel. This was explicitly announced by the US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Multilateral Affairs and Global China Issues, “Jung H. Pak”, at the China-Israel Global Network and Academic Leadership Conference, known as: “SIGNAL”.

  And it was held immediately after Benjamin Netanyahu’s victory in the Israeli elections, with the announcement of “Jung H. Pak”, that:

“Israel must take more steps to protect its “advanced biotechnologies from the Chinese investment”

  The same American fears about the position of the Netanyahu government and its policies regarding China as a strong competitor to Washington in Tel Aviv and the region, occurred at the end of 2019, before the end of the previous term of “Benjamin Netanyahu” in power, when the Israeli government led by “Netanyahu” and under strong and intense pressure from Washington decided to establishing (a consultative mechanism on aspects of national security for foreign investments) and the meaning here is basically China.  Therefore, the previous Netanyahu government’s approval of this US policy towards China came as an Israeli attempt mainly to manage obstacles and slowdowns in order to maneuver between US demands and Chinese economic opportunities in Tel Aviv.

  And this matter has become applicable to the Israeli government that preceded the current Netanyahu government regarding the exercise of maximum American pressure in the face of the Hebrew state to ease its relations with Beijing. In July 2022, US President “Joe Biden” and former Israeli Prime Minister “Yair Lapid” published a joint declaration on (establishing a strategic dialogue on advanced technologies in Israel) to warn mainly against transferring that advanced Israeli technology with the help of the United States of America to China, and holding this strategic dialogue is mainly between Washington and Tel Aviv, headed by the US and Israeli national security advisors (Jake Sullivan and Eyal Holata). On October 12, 2022, the outgoing Israeli government headed by “Yair Lapid” decided to strengthen the advisory mechanism on foreign investments, especially with China, primarily to satisfy Washington.  This is the same as confirmed by the US Ambassador to Israel, “Tom Needs”, when he said, “The US administration has also reached understandings with Israel regarding trade with China, and that it will tighten control over the sale of domestic technology to China, for fear of it falling into the wrong hands”, in an explicit reference to china.

  However, after the victory of the Netanyahu government in the January 2023 elections, we were surprised by a severe deterioration in relations between Washington and Tel Aviv, to the extent that planning began in the White House in Washington and the “CIA” to get rid of the Netanyahu government and its hard-line policies in Palestine and the region, in anticipation of embarrassing Washington by all  parties in the region and reduce confidence in them.  Which made me pause for a long time on this serious issue of the American planning to get rid of Netanyahu’s extremist government, and how can Beijing take advantage of this to strengthen its presence and influence in Israel and the region?  Especially after those statements from an American military official, that the United States of America is trying to get rid of Israeli Prime Minister “Benjamin Netanyahu” because of its lack of commitment with Washington.

  In my opinion, and according to my reading of the scene, it is expected that China will take advantage of this loophole in the tense US-Israeli relations during the current Netanyahu government, to enter as an active and influential party in the peace process in the Middle East. This is what Netanyahu expects even during his previous term, when he expected Beijing to play an important role in (European-American mediation diplomacy between Israel and the Palestinians). It also brings me to a previous meeting chaired by “Netanyahu” and attended by Chinese and Israeli diplomats, in which “Netanyahu” told the Chinese directly, saying literally: “I believe we can work together to meet the challenges of achieving peace in the Middle East”. This aroused the anger and fears of the Americans about China’s entry as an active party and a reliable partner for all parties in the region in the peace process and its management between the Palestinians and the Israelis.

 Hence, China, through its intellectual and research centers and its Ministry of Foreign Affairs, began a serious follow-up to the crisis situation between Washington, Tel Aviv, and the hardline Netanyahu government, after the success of “Benjamin Netanyahu” in 2023 to think about the Chinese entry effectively in the line of the flaring crisis between Washington and Tel Aviv to play the role of mediation regionally and internationally in order to lead China’s efforts and the mediation process in the region and between the Palestinians and the Israelis, especially those related to building settlements and settlement units for the extremist Netanyahu government in the West Bank and the occupied Palestinian territories.

 In this regard – and on a personal academic level – I am reminded of what I wrote about an analysis published several years ago, specifically on June 2, 2014, entitled:

“The impact of Chinese labor in Israel on Arab national security”

 This aroused the Israelis’ ire and anger at me, with my extensive analysis and my talk about Chinese labor in Israel, especially in the construction sector, which is estimated at more than 23,000 Chinese workers in Israel, which the Israeli occupation authorities are trying to benefit from in the process of building Israeli settlements and settlement units, especially that illegal Chinese labor, which entered Israel through illegal ways, so the Israeli occupation authorities are trying to take advantage of it in illegal actions affecting the construction of Israeli settlements, and this has become the most issue that causes and continues to strain relations between China and Israel. This is what I wrote about specifically, personally and academically, in June 2014, by emphasizing that this issue of Chinese labor in Tel Aviv, specifically those working in the construction sector, has become the most threatening file for Chinese-Israeli relations, with the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs objecting several times to its Israeli counterpart by seeking their help in  Illegal actions related to the construction of Israeli settlements and the Chinese demand to expel them and not seek help from them, and my candid statement in my analysis referred to and published in 2014, that this issue of Chinese labor in Israel, specifically in the construction sector, did not occur to any Egyptian or Arab researcher unless he lived  He went to China himself, listened to all opinions, and analyzed them.

 I mentioned in my previous analysis, published on June 2, 2014, regarding (Chinese labor in Israel, especially in the construction sector), which is a permanent source, and perhaps also unheard and uncirculated in our Arab region and Palestine, despite its extreme danger in studying the file of relations between China and Israel.  In general, it is difficult for any researcher in the joint Israeli-Chinese political affairs to access these data and statistics, especially those related to the availability and access to necessary data, information and details about Chinese labor in Israel, or Israeli labor in China.  Israel constitute a few separate groups, including small groups of Chinese students studying in Israeli universities, businessmen, merchants, workers and Chinese investors in the construction sector in Israel, and they are the majority in the business community and workers in Tel Aviv.

 It remains a noteworthy note for me in this context, which is China’s keenness to increase the number of its citizens working in ”Israel”, which number approximately 20 thousand workers, and who transfer 330 million dollars annually to Beijing.

  My analysis, referred to and publicly published on June 2, 2014, came as a result of the recent increase in joint Chinese-Israeli studies to establish a system for the employment of migrant labor between China and Israel. Under this project, the focus is on Chinese immigrants who were recruited to work in Israel under legal contracts. It was found that many of these immigrants face a state of illegality within the framework of their presence in the State of Israel. The operating system seeks to integrate these Chinese immigrants as well as mediators in the field of work and employers, from both the Chinese and Israeli sides, and to achieve a joint Chinese-Israeli benefit – especially in the informal Chinese-Israeli business sector, represented in preserving illegal Chinese labor, especially in the building and construction sector, amounting to 23 thousand workers – through the availability of many special Israeli facilities for them in the residency and work system in Tel Aviv.

  In my research, published on June 2, 2014, I warned of the seriousness of the Israeli government’s policies in using those illegal Chinese workers in the construction sector in building Israeli settlements – which itself is a source of tension between China and Israel – especially with the Israeli government adopting several policies to encourage Chinese and foreign labor in general and expatriates to work in Israel, including expelling Palestinian workers from their jobs and fighting them for their livelihood, and replacing them with cheap Chinese labor. And by analyzing the impact of Chinese labor coming to Israel on our Arab national security, we will notice that more than half a million immigrants from the developing world, especially China, have flocked to Israel, since the first Palestinian uprising in the early nineties of the last century, to replace the Palestinian workers who were the main source of labor in Israel, which I have analyzed and referred to academically and in research, has increased the concern of some, considering that the expulsion and disposal of Palestinian labor comes within the framework of a long and systematic Israeli plan to build new settlements within the occupied Palestinian territories, which infers from it that the replacement of  This Palestinian employment with Chinese and others comes within the framework of gaining international sympathy from the countries of these nationalities to turn a blind eye to such Zionist moves, and it is an analysis that deserves study and analysis, even if it is far-reaching.

 This is what prompts me to declare, for the first time internationally, that I am trying to obtain official Israeli data from the Ministry of Immigration and Foreign Workers in Israel, pertaining to and affecting my academic work, to know the number of Chinese workers in Tel Aviv in an accurate academic and statistical way, but my request was completely rejected by Israel because that affects Israeli national security.  This Israeli refusal to accurately disclose the number of Chinese workers – legal and illegal – in the Hebrew state, came when I wrote my internationally published book in English and classified as one of the most important books in the world, on:

“The impact of Jewish minorities and Israeli think tanks in China on Arab national security”

  It is the book that caused a strong international uproar, to the extent that Harvard University, ranked first in the United States and internationally, bought copies of it, in addition to purchasing copies of it from major American and international universities, which placed them in their libraries for public viewing, as well as mentioning, referring, and introducing me to the official American university websites globally to introduce me to American students and researchers, and I published with him (a biography introducing me) on the official websites of these universities, so it was the largest American university that bought and presented my book, on: “The Influence of Jewish Minorities and Israeli Think Tanks in China on Arab National Security”. These are: Universities  (Harvard, Washington, Stanford, Ohio, Columbia, New York, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Yale), and other American and international universities.

  The danger of my book, American, Israeli, and international, comes from my reference for the first time internationally about (the impact of recruiting Chinese Judaizers into the Israel Defense Forces on Arab national security in the future, and the impact of Chinese labor in Israel on Arab national security as a whole), and even on the strained relations between China and Israel at the same time.  This is in the wake of the official Chinese demands from their Israeli counterparts to expel those illegal Chinese immigrant workers, mainly from building Israeli settlements, in violation of United Nations resolutions and international legitimacy, and the Israeli governments’ negligence of those Chinese claims, regarding the failure to use Chinese workers, especially illegal ones, in building Israeli settlements and demanding their expulsion.  immediately with the Israeli non-compliance with that decision. And as I indicated, the Israeli side rejected any attempts by me to circumvent in order to obtain those accurate percentages and statistics about the numbers of formal, unofficial or illegal immigrant Chinese workers, especially those working in building Israeli settlements and settlement units illegally, with the Chinese government constantly objecting to those Israeli steps in using them to embarrass the Beijing government mainly in Palestine and the countries of the region, which is what Israel aims primarily for in the future, such as their use of Judaized Chinese to fight the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and the occupied Palestinian territories in the Israeli Defense Forces. This is what I strongly warned in my book referred to because of its seriousness.

   On the American side, the continuation of the extremist Netanyahu government in building settlements and settlement units has become what arouses Washington’s anger and fears the most, like the Chinese as well, and threatens the continued survival of Israeli Prime Minister “Benjamin Netanyahu” at the helm of power in Israel, with what has been observed of desperate American attempts to get rid of  immediately and remove him from power.  There are several fundamental reasons that prompted Washington to take this decision to get rid of “Netanyahu” now, even though it was his biggest supporter, to describe the new government led by “Netanyahu” as “the most right-wing” in the history of Israel. Also, the new Netanyahu government is the most religious and strict in the history of Israel, due to its composition and composition of several ultra-Orthodox parties, an extremist religious faction, and the far-right Likud party, in addition to the assistance of several other figures in forming the Netanyahu government, which is considered controversial, due to its hardline stances towards the Palestinians, the Palestinian cause, and the Arab region completely that Israeli government, with its new components, will undermine the potential of the Palestinians to obtain their legitimate rights through the expansion of the settlement and Judaization policy, and its complete lack of respect for international law, through its frank and direct announcement of its approved plan and policy to expand the settlement units in the West Bank and on the occupied Palestinian territories. With the presence of a severe American warning to establish new settlements in the northern West Bank, with the increasing American criticism in the face of the extremist Netanyahu government, regarding the law of separation or disengagement, which was signed in 2005, and related to the construction of Israeli settlements.

  Hence the summoning of Israel’s ambassador to Washington, “Mike Herzog” in the US State Department, following the background of the cancellation of a number of articles of the Secession Law in the Israeli Knesset, in which members of Parliament, the “Israeli Knesset”, canceled a number of provisions of the Separation Law, which prohibited Jews from living  In the northern regions of the West Bank, however, hard-line members of the Knesset formed a strong bloc to cancel several articles of the Separation Law to expand their right to settlement, claiming that the lands of the West Bank in Palestine are part of their historical homeland, as well as the Israeli claim that expanding settlement construction will help in  Fighting what they called terrorism and developing the land of Israel according to their claim, which Washington, the Palestinian Authority, Egypt, Jordan, all countries in the region and the international community completely reject. This is what the US State Department itself officially described as a “provocative step” that violates promises.  With the American warning to Netanyahu’s hardline government, that the plan to cancel a number of articles of the (Separation Act) to expand settlements in the northern West Bank constitutes an obstacle to American-Israeli peace in Palestine and the Middle East region, and impedes American plans to expand the circle of peace and agreements with the countries of the region and Israel.  Hence the US administration’s warning to the Netanyahu government that the Knesset’s decision to annul some articles of the 2005 disengagement or separation law, related to the northern West Bank, is counterproductive to calm efforts, and hinders the possibility of pursuing confidence-building measures and creating any political horizon for dialogue.

  And the most dangerous thing remains for me, according to my reading and analysis of the scene, is the possibility of displacing the Palestinians from their lands by the extremist government of Netanyahu, which has already been monitored, through the Israeli occupation authorities taking several steps to expel the Palestinians in (Silwan neighborhood) in the West Bank in preparation for the establishment and establishment of new settlements, and thus with the expansion of the process of forced displacement of the Palestinians from their lands, we will be facing ethnic cleansing operations, and confrontations will occur that must be dealt with inevitably. And with the placement of Islamic and religious sanctities under the Hashemite tutelage and King Abdullah bin Al-Hussein of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, the stern warning by King Abdullah bin Al-Hussein of Jordan came to warn against crossing the “Israeli red lines” in the city of Jerusalem, with direct confirmation by King Abdullah bin Al-Hussein  With his personal readiness for conflict in the face of the Netanyahu government and its extremist policies, if the status of the holy places in Palestine changes. There is also widespread Jordanian concern about those who are trying to pressure Israel and Netanyahu’s extremist government to introduce changes in his guardianship over Islamic and Christian holy sites in occupied East Jerusalem, and this is what King Abdullah bin Al Hussein warned of that he has “red lines” that Israel must pay attention to, and not to go beyond it at all, which Washington fears of wider regional unrest with the Netanyahu government and its hard-line policies towards the Palestinians and the neighboring Arab region, especially Egypt and Jordan.

 Netanyahu’s hard-line government has also caused an escalation of American, international, and regional concerns about the possible development of Israeli-Palestinian violence, and questions about the future of Israel’s relations with its Arab neighbors and Western allies themselves, especially since this year has already been the bloodiest for the Palestinians and Israelis, which brings to mind the specter of a new Palestinian uprising, and this is what Washington and the “Joe Biden” administration fear most in the region.

  Hence the US administration’s endeavor to get rid of the Netanyahu government, despite its confidence in the Israeli Knesset, due to a state of fears and warnings, whether Western or Arab, against forming a government that relies on the extreme right led by “Benjamin Netanyahu”, with the increasing American accusations against the new government of Israel, describing it as the most strict and extremist in the history of Tel Aviv, with the Israeli Prime Minister “Benjamin Netanyahu” relying in its formation on a group of the most extremists within the occupied entity, amid expectations of an intensification of the situation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and fears of the outbreak of a Palestinian uprising.  New because of his government’s policies against the Palestinians, especially after the Netanyahu government announced its new agenda regarding settlement expansion in the West Bank, and its disrespect for the decisions of Washington, the international community and the neighboring Arab region in particular, which arouses the anger and fears of the Americans and all neighboring parties, for fear of  Situations ignite.  This is after the decision to expand settlements and settlement units of the Netanyahu government violated all resolutions of international legitimacy, most notably Resolution No. (2334) issued by the UN Security Council, which confirmed that settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem, are illegal and contrary to United Nations resolutions and international legitimacy. Hence, the expansion of Israeli settlements during the Netanyahu era ignites the Palestinian front and the entire region, and makes resistance and unity a first priority for the Palestinian people in the face of the priorities of the new Israeli government led by “Netanyahu” by escalating the resistance, expanding its area, and applying pressure with all available means to uproot and expel the Jewish settlers.

The United States of America expressed its concern about the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s new settlement policies, coinciding with Washington’s opposition to any measure that contradicts the principle of the two-state solution. Therefore, American calls increased for Netanyahu to meet with Biden to discuss peace opportunities with the Palestinians, especially after approval  The Knesset over the Netanyahu government in January 2023.  Here, the administration of US President Joe Biden finds it difficult to deal with the Netanyahu government, especially since most of it is from the extreme right, especially Itamar Ben Gvir, the Israeli Minister of National Security.  Hence, the United States of America sought to find a way to deal with members of the extreme right in the Netanyahu government, in order to avoid problems with its close ally, Israel.  Especially with the Netanyahu government’s hard-line orientations regarding the settlement expansion plan in the West Bank at the top of its list of priorities, as well as building more settlement units, and this was explicitly announced by Netanyahu’s Likud Party, with its emphasis on “development and expansion of settlements throughout the land of Israel, specifically in  The cities of Galilee, the Negev, the Golan Heights, Judea and Samaria,” which are biblical names for the West Bank.

 On the other hand, hard-line members of the Israeli Knesset responded to US criticism of the Netanyahu government regarding the expansion of settlement construction, by warning the US administration not to interfere in Israel’s security policy in the West Bank. Rather, the Israeli justification came to Washington through a number of Knesset members and the extremist Israeli government, that the allegations about building settlements in Area “C” will increase tensions between Israelis and Palestinians is a fundamental error from the Israeli point of view, warning of the increasing pressure of the US government on the issue of canceling the separation law in  North of the West Bank, because Washington’s pressure on Israel in this context constitutes damage to Israel’s security, according to the current Israeli perception. This constituted fundamental and strong reasons for Washington to try to completely get rid of the provocations of the Netanyahu government and its strict policies towards the Palestinians and the region, and its non-compliance with any previous decisions reached regarding the settlements and the Jordanian Hashemite guardianship over religious sanctities in East Jerusalem, and others.

   On the other hand, the American concern has become about the relationship between China and Israel during the era of the “Benjamin Netanyahu” government, in light of the role that Tel Aviv played in transferring some advanced Western military technologies to Beijing. The most numerous plane in China is the (J-10), whose design is believed to have been based initially on the Israeli plane project “Lavi”, which Tel Aviv secretly presented to Beijing during the eighties, noting that the Israeli plane, in turn, is influenced by the design of the American “F-16”. And that was after Washington had provided some of its information and technologies to the Israeli project, meaning that American technology had infiltrated Beijing through Tel Aviv.

  Hence, we arrive at a conclusive and final analysis that states the extent to which the Chinese are able to benefit from the strained relations between Washington and Tel Aviv to achieve their interests, either by pressuring the hard-line Netanyahu government to expel illegal Chinese workers from the Israeli settlement lands, or by obtaining advanced Israeli advantages and technologies provided to them mainly from Washington.  It is the same thing that threatens US national security in terms of fear of growing relations between China and Israel, especially during the Netanyahu era, which ultimately leads to the success of the Chinese in exploiting those tense relations between the United States of America and Israel The current Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, is at the helm of power in the Jewish state.  This is what makes Tel Aviv very angry with Washington in favor of rapprochement with the Chinese, who – in my opinion – have read the scene well and planned for it to achieve their interests at the expense of the Americans, and to enter as a reliable mediator and sponsor of peace between the Palestinians and the Israelis to resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict on the one hand, and to plan for a  China obtains advanced American technologies from the Netanyahu government, whose relationship is already tense with Washington, in light of the United States’ efforts to expel “Netanyahu” from the Israeli authority, and also to create increasing Chinese pressure on the Netanyahu government to renew its request to expel illegal Chinese workers, mainly from working in the construction sector. And construction in Israeli settlements and settlement units.  In my belief and my final analysis, China is the primary beneficiary in all circumstances and circumstances from the strained relations between Washington and Tel Aviv.

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