Abbas asks China to support Iran sanctions as Palestinians would die in ME war

Chinese president Hu Jintao was taken by surprise by the Chairman of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas's plea to support tough sanctions against Iran's nuclear program when they met in Shanghai Saturday, May 1, debkafile's Middle East sources reveal. He was even more taken aback by the argument that a Middle East war, a realistic peril in the absence of sanctions, would cost the lives of many Palestinians who would find themselves caught between the belligerents.
Hu received the Palestinian leader after the gala opening of Shanghai World Expo.  According to Chinese sources, Abbas explained that for once, most Arab nations – and the Palestinians, most of all – are ranged on the same side as Israel and the West in their profound anxiety about Iran's nuclear program and the threat it poses of regional violence.
Abbas told the Chinese leader that he spoke on behalf of a majority of Arab rulers, in particular, Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, United Arab Emirates president Sheikh Khalifa bin Zaed al-Nahyan and King Abdullah II of Jordan.
Palestinian cities have no defenses against their rockets should Iran and its allies, Syria, Hizballah and Hamas wage war against Israel, he said, and thousands of Palestinians in the line of fire would pay with their lives. He therefore pleaded with President Hu to drop his objections to harsh sanctions against Iran at the UN Security Council as the only way to avert a conflict that could spark a Middle East conflagration.
Our sources note that this was the first time a Palestinian leader supported Israel's position on any Middle East issue, undertaking a mission to China in which several Israeli officials failed earlier this year.

The Chinese leader's response is not known. However, one of Beijing's main considerations in opposing painful sanctions against Iran, including an embargo on refined fuel products and arms, is its championship of the Third World nations' position that Security Council sanctions are a blunt instrument all too often applied by the big powers, especially United States, to bend them to their will.
Abbas' petition, in fact, complemented and underscored the Obama administration's case for harsh sanctions against Iran, in terms of economic benefit. Beijing need not fear repercussions from Tehran in terms of its oil supplies, US officials have told Beijing, since Saudi Arabia would be willing to make up any shortfall – and at cheaper prices, to boot. 

Abbas' arguments to Hu reinforced that pledge.

Saturday, too, the Arab League's monitoring committee was expected to endorse the Palestinian leader's acceptance of the US plan for launching indirect peace negotiations with Israel.  US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also voiced confidence Friday, April 30, that proximity talks would begin next week. Next Monday, Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu meets Mubarak in Sharm el-Sheikh, before the return to the region of the American Middle East envoy, George Mitchell later in the week.

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