Spearheaded by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, the “Beijing initiative” is also being backed by an Israeli delegation, led by deputy Knesset speaker MK Yehiel "Hilik" Bar—who also serves as the Chair of the Knesset Caucus to Resolve the Israeli-Arab Conflict— together with a Palestinian delegation led by Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas’s advisor Nabil Shaath and Ahmed Majdalani, a senior officials in the PA.
Academics and civilians activists also joined the delegations.
“China has decided to increase its involvement in advancing the diplomatic process between Israel and the Palestinians,” Foreign Minister Yi announced. “Despite the difficulties, we must progress in the direction of renewed peace talks.
“The two-state solution,” he added,” is the only one and it must stand at the center of the process drawn from the Arab League Initiative.”
The representatives met with the goal of formulating a non-binding position paper that would be agreeable to both sides.
Members of the delegations refused to hold a joint press conference having stumbled into a variety of disagreements, particularly on the issue of Jerusalem, but after Chinese pressure was brought to bear, the document was drawn up.
“The status of Jerusalem must reflect the history and special connection of all three religions in the city,” said Minister Yi in Beijing in reference to Judaism, Islam and Christianity.
At the conclusion of the meeting, MK Bar said that he “welcomes Chinese involvement,” but stressed that it did not signal “an alternative to the American involvement, but rather an initiative that would be by its side.”
“We will welcome any country that wants to contribute to the solution to the conflict, and of course an important power like China.”