The Chinese Foreign Ministry — issuing a rare statement during the week-long Lunar New Year holiday — condemned the government of Israel on Tuesday for engaging in self-defense operations in Rafah, Gaza, where the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) rescued two Hamas hostages.
The hostages, identified as Argentine-Israelis Louis Har and Fernando Marman, were among the estimated 250 people abducted from Israel during the Hamas slaughter of October 7, in which an estimated 1,200 people were killed, and Hamas terrorists engaged in a rampage of gang rape, torture, infanticide, and other atrocities. The IDF confirmed on Monday the rescue of the two hostages in Rafah, which reportedly took place between Sunday night and Monday local time, and released footage of the operation.
WATCH: IDF Releases Aerial Footage of Hostage Rescue in Rafah, GazaIsrael Defense Forces
“This was a complex rescue operation under fire in the heart of Rafah, based on highly sensitive and valuable intelligence from the Intelligence Directorate and the Israel Security Agency,” IDF spokesman Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari told reporters.
Rafah is on the southern tip of the Gaza Strip and lies on the border with Egypt. In the aftermath of October 7, the IDF launched a series of self-defense operations against Hamas, a genocidal jihadist terror organization, in northern Gaza, sending locals fleeing south. Pro-“Palestinian” voices, most notably the government of Egypt, have vocally opposed any operations that may result in Palestinians fleeing to Egypt. Egyptian strongman Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has repeatedly insisted that his country would not take in any Palestinian refugees, suggesting stranding them in the Negev desert instead.
China, a distant power of little influence in the Middle East, has attempted to elevate its profile among Muslim nations by supporting Hamas and condemning Israel’s self-defense measures. Many of those powers — including Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Taliban-ruled Afghanistan, among others — have embraced business with Beijing despite China’s ongoing genocide of Muslims in occupied East Turkistan. On Tuesday, it condemned Israeli operations in Rafah.
“We oppose and condemn acts against civilians and international law. We call on Israel to stop military operations as soon as possible, do everything possible to avoid casualties among innocent civilians,” the Chinese Foreign Ministry proclaimed, “and prevent a more devastating humanitarian disaster in Rafah.”
China has consistently supported anti-Israel interests since October 7. It is a close ally of the largest state funder of Hamas, Iran, which has made public overtures to Beijing, urging it to become more involved in the anti-Israel movement. Communist dictator Xi Jinping responded with remarks on the October 7 massacres in November in which he demanded Israel engage in a “ceasefire immediately” against Hamas and predicted a potential “humanitarian disaster” caused by Israel, not the terrorists.
“Stop all violence and attacks against civilians, release civilians held captive, and act to prevent loss of more lives and spare people from more miseries,” Xi ordered. “The collective punishment of people in Gaza in the form of forced transfer or water, electricity and fuel deprivation must stop.”
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Xi also echoed demands from Hamas for the establishment of “an independent state of Palestine.”
China later hosted a summit of Arab leaders in Beijing in which it amplified calls for Israel to allow Hamas to continue threatening its civilians.
“China is a good friend and brother of Arab and Islamic countries,” Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said at the event. “We have always firmly safeguarded the legitimate rights and interests of Arab (and) Islamic countries and have always firmly supported the just cause of the Palestinian people.”
The operation in Rafah that made it possible to rescue two hostages was part of a broader order by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday, in which he ordered the military to plan for the destruction of Hamas’s terrorist infrastructure in the southern city. Controlling the border with Egypt allows Hamas to smuggle weapons and plan attacks outside of its limited control in Gaza, making the elimination of the Hamas presence there necessary for a victory for Israel, Netanyahu contended.
WATCH: IDF Releases Helmet Cam Footage from Hostage Rescue in Rafah, GazaIsrael Defense Forces
“It is impossible to achieve the goal of the war of eliminating Hamas by leaving four Hamas battalions in Rafah,” Netanyahu said on Friday. “On the contrary, it is clear that intense activity in Rafah requires that civilians evacuate the areas of combat.”
The order prompted outrage not just from Islamic countries and their communist allies but from the administration of leftist American President Joe Biden. Biden reportedly told Netanyahu personally a week before the hostage rescue that “a military operation in Rafah should not proceed without a credible and executable plan for ensuring the safety of and support for the more than one million people sheltering there.”
White House National Security Spokesman John Kirby warned in remarks on Thursday, shortly before Netanyahu’s announcement, that any operation in Rafah would be a “disaster.”
“Absent any full consideration of protecting civilians at that scale in Gaza — military operations right now would be a disaster for those people, and it’s not something that we would support,” Kirby said in response to reports that Israel was planning to enter Rafah.