By Le Letian
After Hamas launched a terrorist attack on Israel on October 7, Beijing expressed an ambiguous “neutral” position, which was exactly the same as its position toward Russia after its invasion of Ukraine. Since Beijing has always advocated “promoting peace and negotiations,” which parties broke the peace? A basic fact is that without Russia’s “Special Military Operation” and Hamas’s “Operation Al-Aqsa Flood,” these two continuing military conflicts would not exist. If we want to restore peace, shouldn’t we tell the perpetrators to stop? However, Beijing, which has never condemned Russia’s “special military operation,” has not condemned Hamas’s “Operation Al-Aqsa Flood” either to this point.
And, contradicting itself, Beijing has deviated from its “peace” discourse and offered alternative rhetoric: “tracing the war responsibility back to “NATO’s eastward expansion, which threatens security,” and “the failure to implement the two-state solution,” thus legalizing the offenders’ act of waging war. The “peace-promoting talks” advocated by Beijing are not unconditional, but rather suggest that victims accept the perpetrator’s demands in order to reach a “reasonable” compromise. This is Beijing’s true position, under the guise of “neutrality.”
The official diplomatic stance of the Beijing establishment does adhere to the basic ethics of international relations. It is “saddened by the civilian casualties caused by the conflict, expresses condolences to the families of the victims, and condemns actions that harm innocent civilians.” Nominal venues for public opinion actually under Beijing’s control go farther and accuse the victims of Ukraine and Israel of “deserving their fate,” and support Russia’s annexation of Ukraine and the annihilation of the state of Israel. These populist arguments are not only contrary to Beijing’s political stance of recognizing the sovereignty of Ukraine and Israel, but also express views without even a shred of basic humanitarianism.
As everyone knows, Hamas is a far-right military organization that advocates sharia law and fundamentalism, just as Putinism has become a quasi-fascism. In the Chinese public-opinion circles where Hamas and Putin fans are rampant, if those who cry out for the Palestinians in Gaza and the Russians in eastern Ukraine are really human-rights defenders, why do they turn a blind eye to the elephant in the room by failing to criticize North Korea and others for trampling on human rights? Are they in favor of the hereditary kleptocracy that runs North Korea?
The situation of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, and of Russians in eastern Ukraine, does need to be improved urgently. But the first to oppress Gazans and Russians are Hamas, which established a dictatorship in Gaza in 2006, and Vladimir Putin and his United Russia movement, who have led a dictatorship in Russia since 1999, rather than any indirect external force. The sanctions imposed by the United States on North Korea and Cuba have objectively harmed the living standards of the two peoples. However, those who fundamentally refuse to implement private ownership to improve the living standards of their people in order to maintain party (family, official, monarchical) ownership are precisely those who disregard national justice, national interests and their people’s well-being, the Kim and Castro kleptocrats. It is absurd for the “leeks,” the common people, to be harvested in Gaza and Russia, who have been held hostage and pushed into the pit of war, to regard Hamas and Putin as “liberators.” The resonance between China’s own leeks and those of Gaza and Russia is unparalleled.
After Israel declared war on Hamas and launched massive bombings of the Gaza Strip, Beijing’s “condemnation of actions that harm innocent civilians” became its extremely imprecise diplomatic rhetoric. Of course, while Hamas’s terrorist attacks are “acts that harm innocent civilians,” Israel’s bombing of the Gaza Strip cannot guarantee that no innocent civilians will be harmed, which makes Hamas’s terrorist attacks subject to comparison. However, condemning Hamas terrorist attacks and calling on Israel to exercise restraint are not in conflict and can and should be done at the same time. If the IDF commits war crimes in the Gaza Strip, does that make Hamas’ terrorist attacks less criminal?
The battle between Israel and Hamas is not a battle between the so-called “West” and the non-West, a battle between Jews and Arabs or even Muslims, or a battle between Israel and Palestine. It is not a battle between the particularities of various cultures, civilizations, nations, and religions, but a universalist battle between secularity and theocracy, democracy and autocracy, enlightenment and ignorance, modernity and the Middle Ages. Israel is not a completely secular state, and there are secularists in Palestine. But Hamas, as a symbol of Palestinian reaction, is far more evil than the Netanyahu government and Likud, which operate under a constitutional system.
The fundamental solution to the Israeli-Palestinian issue lies in replacing retrograde war with peaceful development, religious fanaticism with secular rationality, and medieval barbarism with modern civilization. After the 9/11 attacks, Chinese public opinion was in a frenzy, but Jiang Zemin called Bush that night to express sympathy to the United States and the families of the victims, and condemned “all acts of terrorist violence.” Today, Beijing’s failure to condemn Hamas’s terrorist attacks is an attempt to erase its atavistic warlordism, religious fanaticism and medieval barbarism.
It is worth noting that in ignoring the atrocities of Hamas, in addition to the above-mentioned mainstream voices in China that shirk responsibility or defend medieval barbarism, there is also an alternative radical “left” position on offer. As an example, 34 Harvard student groups signed a statement stating that Israel should “take full responsibility” for Hamas terrorist attacks, and that it stands side-by-side with Hamas, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad Movement, Hezbollah and other far-right theocratic terrorist organizations along with secular-left organizations such as the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, etc.
Whether they are using words to defend the Hamas terrorist attacks, or engaging in action and sacrificing their lives for the war initiated by Hamas in action, these far-left terrorists who do whatever it takes to achieve their goals have put themselves in collusion with the far-right terrorists. Once they take power, the disaster they will bring to the Palestinian people and nation will be in no way better than the disaster caused by Hamas in Gaza; just like far-right terrorists, they will not bring rationality, peace, development and modernity to Palestinian civilization. Instead, they will only cause Palestine to cycle through fanaticism, war, regression and medieval barbarism. Violence can never eliminate violence, and unjust means can never achieve just ends. The Chinese people who have had personal experience might have a lot to say about this.
As for that small group of students and intellectuals in Cambridge, Massachusetts, they stand on the high redoubt of modern civilization, but they are thousands of miles away from the suffering of Palestine amid medieval barbarism. They raise the moral banner of “revolution” and live in the fantasy world they have woven, in the manner of the armies of China’s Spring and Autumn Period slaughtering each other, and only nominally in the name of their abstract dreams. While the analogy is not exact, it should serve as a warning.
This piece was translated from Yibao Chinese. If republished, please be sure to add the source and link https://www.yibao.net/?p=247636&preview=true before the text when reposting.
The views of the author do not necessarily represent those of this journal.