This article explores the key issues in China's changing relations with the Arab countries and Israel from 1963 to 1975. Based on interviews, archival sources, and other materials, the article shows Beijing's attempts to justify its self-portrait as the only genuine patron of “national liberation movements” and to help foster the conditions for revolution in the Middle East by supporting a “people's war” against Israel. Although this radical design failed after the liquidation of Palestinian guerrillas in Jordan in the 1970s and the U.S.-Chinese rapprochement soon thereafter, the Sino-Soviet competition in the 1970s still gave enormous impetus to the visibility of the Palestine Liberation Organization in the international arena. The article discusses the roles of Chinese Communist leaders and diplomats in formulating Beijing's policy toward the Arab-Israeli conflict, which also served Mao Zedong's domestic mobilization before and during the Cultural Revolution. The article thus highlights a special connection across the international and domestic dimensions of China's Cold War experience.

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