Can the Belt Road Initiative Help Ameliorate the Arab-Israel Conflict?
By: Meron Medzini


One of the main purposes of China’s Belt and Road Initiative is to enhance trade between countries, increase mutual learning between civilizations and promote greater people-to-people exchanges. Furthermore, this unprecedented project is also designed to promote dialogues and exchanges among civilizations and to enhance friendly interactions between countries. Could these lofty ideas be applied also to the resolution of the century old Arab-Israel conflict? This paper argues that the Belt and Road Initiative can play an important role in promoting greater dialogue and understanding between Israel and some Arab countries in Asia thus lessening tensions in the Middle East and also helping China to play a growing role in that region as well as enhancing China’s vital interest in that area.

הדיון הישראלי-סיני
איננו יכולים להתעלם מהדיון הציבורי המתפתח סביב ההשקעה הגבוהה במיוחד של חברות סיניות בשוק הישראלי. הנושא שבעבר היה נידון בשיחות סלון מאחורי דלתיים סגורות, מעסיק כיום את המהדורות המרכזיות ואת הפורומים לביטחון לאומי. בכירים ביטחוניים לשעבר יחד עם פרשנים כלכליים מעלים חששות בנוגע לסיכונים האפשריים לביטחונה הלאומי של ישראל ולחוסנה הכלכלי.

ישראל אינה לבדה. מדינות עולם שלישי לצד כלכלות מתקדמות מהוות גם הן מוקד להשקעות חוץ סיניות כחלק מחזונה הכלכלי-עולמי של סין, כאשר כיום מדינות אלה מחפשות את האיזון הנכון בין הגנה על האינטרסים הלאומיים שלהן לבין שמירה על מדיניות השוק הפתוח.
מספר כלכלות מערביות, דוגמת אוסטרליה וגרמניה, שינו את האופן בו הם סוקרות את תהליכי ההשקעות הזרות שלהן על-מנת להתאים את ההליכים עבור קונים חדשים ותעשיות. עם זאת, מוקד העניין העולמי האמיתי עוסק בארה”ב ובמלחמת הסחר וההשקעות בינה לבין לסין, מה שרלוונטי למסחר הישראלי ולמציאות הפוליטית בישראל.

The Haifa port-China conundrum in context
By: Dale Aluf

Amidst rising tensions between China and the U.S., controversy surrounding the Shanghai International Ports Group (SIPG) being awarded the tender to operate the new terminal of the Haifa port has taken center stage in Jerusalem.

Rising concerns are reflected in a sample of headlines published in Israeli media outlets in recent months, including:
“Israel Is Giving China the Keys to Its Largest Port – and the U.S. Navy May Abandon Israel”
“Has Israel made a huge mistake letting a Chinese firm run part of Haifa port?”
“U.S Navy May Stop Docking in Haifa after Chinese Take over port”
“‘Trump Will Be Furious’: Tension Between U.S. and Israel Over China Infrastructure Projects.”

In September, Haaretz reported that members of the American think tank community harshly criticized their Israeli counterparts over the deal, which will see SIPG take over operations of the new terminal for 25 years, beginning in 2021. They raised concerns over the possibility of the Chinese using the facility to spy on the U.S. 6th fleet which occasionally docks in Haifa; “Once China is in the picture…the Israel Navy will not be able to count on maintaining the close relations it has had with the Sixth Fleet.”

Political Meritocracy and the Rise of China
By: Dr. Aryeh Tepper

According to the World Bank, China’s economic rise has been, “the fastest sustained expansion by a major economy in history.” In order to appreciate the scale of China’s stunning development, picture the Middle Kingdom in the early 1970’s: an entire nation dressed in standard dark-blue and grey tunics purchased food with state-rationed stamps, televisions were community-shared commodities, everyone rode bicycles, and over 80% of the population lived in abject poverty in the countryside. Since market reforms were instituted in 1978, however, the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) has averaged almost 10% annual growth, and approximately 800,000,000 (!) people have been lifted out of poverty. Fast forward to China today, and a visitor will find a country plugged into digital technologies, with high-speed railways connecting cities overcrowded with modern cars and teeming with people recently moved from the countryside.

What lies behind this remarkable transformation? One of the most fundamental causes of China’s economic development was Deng Xiaoping’s influential behind-the-scenes decision-making after Mao’s death. Deftly maneuvering China’s levers of power, Deng emancipated the country from ideologically determined policies and pragmatically directed the opening and reform of China’s economy. But Deng is only one man, and China is a country of 1.3 billion people. His leadership is only part of the story.

Is China a Communist, Capitalist, or Confucian Country?
By: Dr. Aryeh Tepper

For outsiders, China has always been a mysterious and mystifying country, and present-day China is no exception. Much of today’s confusion, however, revolves around a specific question: is China a communist country? Has it instead become a capitalist country? Or is it something else? The confusion is augmented by the fact that one can argue coherently for diametrically opposed answers.

Israel Is More Important To China Than You Might Think
By: Dale Aluf

The recent appointment of Wang Qishan as China’s head of the China-Israel Joint Committee on Innovation Cooperation sends a clear indication: Israel is very important to China.

Older Articles
SIGNAL Perspectives are written by experts on a range of issues within the China-Israel-Middle East space