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As 14 Palestinian leaders lined up for a photograph in Beijing on Tuesday, they each made sure to shake hands afterwards with one man: Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

Tuesday’s Palestinian unity talks, where an agreement for a post-war Gaza framework was signed, were an opportunity for China to provide a rival platform to Israel and its western allies on the future of Palestine and the Middle East.

“China’s major goal is to gain consent and acknowledgment among regional countries regarding its rising status as a responsible country with a superior moral role compared to the US,” Razan Shawamreh, a Palestinian expert on China's foreign policy in the region, told Middle East Eye.

For Hamas, China-backed discussions give it a rare platform to participate in international forums.


The Israeli parliament gave preliminary approval on Monday to a bill that declares the main United Nations relief organisation for Palestinians a terrorist organisation and proposes to sever relations with the body, Reuters reports.

The vote against the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA) is the latest step in an Israeli push against the Agency, which Israeli leaders have accused of collaborating with the Hamas Movement in Gaza.

Israel has said hundreds of UNRWA staff are members of terrorist groups, including Hamas and Islamic Jihad, but has yet to provide evidence to a UN-appointed review.


Two American activists and a Palestinian were injured on Sunday in an attack by illegal Israeli settlers in the occupied West Bank, according to medics and local media.

The Palestinian Red Crescent Society said its medics transferred two Americans to the hospital after they were assaulted by illegal settlers in the town of Qusra in the northern West Bank.

The official Palestinian news agency Wafa said another Palestinian was injured in the attack.

According to the broadcaster, a group of illegal settlers attacked Palestinians and foreign activists as they were clearing and plowing farmlands.


The legislation, currently being debated in the Knesset, would give a government-appointed committee the power to order the firing of academic staff that it decides have expressed “support for terror”. If the universities refuse, their funding would be cut.

One of the academics targeted, Anat Matar from the philosophy department at Tel Aviv University, said the role of students in drafting and promoting a law to silence their lecturers was particularly disturbing.

“Whether or not it passes, a significant damage has already been done,” she said. “The mere fact that it is supported by the national student union and by many local student unions, and that there is hardly any protest among students against, it manifests another step down the ladder towards full-blown fascism.”


The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan called the government’s move “an enormous blow to democratic norms” and one that “reeks of political desperation”.

“If pushed through, it will achieve nothing more than deeper polarisation and the strong likelihood of political chaos and violence,” Chairman Asad Iqbal Butt said in a statement.

A United Nations panel of experts found this month that Imran Khan’s detention “had no legal basis and appears to have been intended to disqualify him from running for political office”.


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An alliance of ethnic armed groups in Myanmar has agreed to extend a ceasefire with the junta in northern Shan State after “pressure” from China, nearly four weeks after the collapse of a China-brokered ceasefire.

“China put a lot of pressure on us to have a ceasefire immediately,” the TNLA leader told the news agency. “Therefore, we have to do it as we can’t avoid it.”

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