China – the wild card player in the Palestine-Israel imbroglio

With an unpredictable celebrity running the White House, the Middle East will soon be dealt another wild card: China as a player in the Israel-Palestine peace talks. Like Donald Trump who started the 2016 US presidential race as a 100-to-1 dark horse, China’s potential role in the world’s most protracted territorial dispute has barely registered on the radar of most analysts.

The stars have been aligning for a new player since 2013 when newly installed President Xi Jinping first spoke of his grand vision that would make the Middle East more than just China’s main oil and gas supplier.

Despite a still-evolving strategy, his ‘One Belt One Road’ (Obor) initiative to revive and expand the old Silk Road into a giant economic corridor covering Asia, the Middle East, North Africa and Europe has shown enough progress to be taken seriously.