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Arab nations play positive role in Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts

By Yang Ran | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2024-02-29 16:41

Displaced Palestinian children, who fled their houses due to Israeli strikes, shelter at a tent camp in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, Feb 27, 2024. [Photo/Agencies]

Arab countries have actively facilitated mediation and promoted talks in the latest round of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and are expected to play a positive role in Gaza's reconstruction in the future, experts said.

Niu Xinchun, executive director of the China-Arab Research Institute at Ningxia University, said that in the ongoing Gaza conflict, Arab countries have played a relatively active role. "The temporary cease-fire deal currently under negotiation would be impossible to reach without the mediation of Qatar and Egypt," Niu said.

Saudi Arabia is also leveraging its influence to urge Israel toward a two-state solution, suggesting that it would normalize relations with Israel if it allows a sovereign Palestinian state.

"Looking at the Arab countries as a whole, they are acting independently and autonomously to influence the development of the situation in Gaza, promoting a cease-fire and the two-state solution, and pushing the regional situation toward peace and stability," he added.

These remarks were made at a symposium held on Wednesday in Beijing for the release of the Annual Report on the Development in the Middle East 2022-2023 compiled by the Institute of West-Asian and African Studies, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and other Chinese research institutions.

The report points out that the Middle East is experiencing profound changes, with strategic autonomy, development prioritization and reconciliation becoming three important characteristics of new changes in the region.

According to the report, strategic autonomy has become a key trend among Middle Eastern countries. They are actively defining the region's own development path and their own national path of development, with a clear prioritization of development as their strategic focus.

Pursuing reconciliation has also become a practical choice for these nations as they work to lower regional tensions and resolve conflicts, all in the interest of fostering a peaceful environment for development, the report said.

In this round of the Gaza conflict, the strategic autonomy of Arab nations is shown in the fact that despite the pressure the US put on them, Arab nations did not follow the policy of the US but maintained their independent stand, said Tang Zhichao, a researcher of Middle East studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

As the Israeli-Palestinian conflict progresses, the role of Arab countries will become more prominent. When it comes to the reconstruction of Gaza and its future governance, Arab countries are expected to play a significant role, Niu said.

Given the strategic independence and development-focused priorities of Arab countries at present, they are increasingly capable of fostering stable regional development and steering the course toward peace, he said.

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