Netanyahu vows from Beijing to continue settlement in Jerusalem and airstrikes on Syria

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to continue settlement in Jerusalem and air raids on Syria at a time when Chinese President Xi Jinping informed him that peaceful coexistence with the Palestinians would be in the interests of both sides.

The Israel Air Force will continue to execute missions in Syria to contain threats against the country, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told reporters in China on Tuesday, dismissing reports that Russia had asked for an end to such defensive actions.

The agreement between Russia and Israel that allows the air force to execute defensive missions against targets in Syria has not changed, Netanyahu said. In such instances, he said, “We attack if we have information and the operational feasibility. This will continue.”

Netanyahu said he made this clear to Russian President Vladimir Putin when the two leaders met in Moscow earlier this month. He explained that Israel would continue to act against arms shipments to Hezbollah as it did on Friday, when the IAF struck an arms convoy near the city of Palmyra.

On the issue of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Netanyahu said that Israel and the Trump administration are working to come to an understanding with regard to building in the West Bank.

These talks do not include building in areas of Jerusalem over the pre-1967 lines, he said. Netanyahu had similarly clarified that Israel would continue to build in east Jerusalem when he spoke with reporters in Washington last month.

Chinese President Xi Jinping told Netanyahu on Tuesday that peaceful coexistence with the Palestinians would be good for both sides.

Xi also said a peaceful and stable Middle East is in everyone’s best interests. He added that China has cultivated increasingly close relations with countries in the region, according to a statement from China’s Foreign Ministry.

It has, for example, tried to help in efforts to end Syria’s civil war. Beijing-based diplomats said China considers itself an honest broker without the historical baggage the Americans and Europeans have in the region.

“A peaceful, stable, developing Middle East accords with the common interests of all, including China and Israel,” Xi was quoted as saying, adding that “China appreciates Israel continuing to take the ‘two-state solution’ as the basis for handling the Israel-Palestine issue.”

Peaceful coexistence between Israel and Palestine would be good for both parties and the region, and is what the whole of the international community favors, Xi said.

Chinese envoys occasionally visit Israel and the Palestinian territories, but Chinese efforts to mediate or play a role in the long-standing dispute have never amounted to much, although China has traditionally had a good relationship with the Palestinians.