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Remarks by Ambassador Geng Shuang at the UN General Assembly Fourth Committee Briefing on Israeli Practices and Settlement Activities Affecting the Rights of the Palestinian People and other Arabs of the Occupied Territories

2023-11-07 22:00

Mr. Chair, 

Since the outbreak of the latest round of Palestinian-Israeli conflict, the fate of the Palestinian people in the occupied territory, especially in Gaza, has pulled at the heartstrings of the whole world. 2.3 million innocent civilians there are languishing amidst indiscriminate bombardment. Even in hospitals, schools, refugee camps, and UN facilities, they are not spared. Water, electricity, food, and fuel supplies have been cut off for almost a month. Starving Children and desperate mothers can be seen everywhere. To quote Secretary-General Guterres, the people in Gaza face an avalanche of human suffering. 

It must be made clear once again that all violence and attacks against civilians should be condemned and any violation of international law rejected. The indiscriminate use of force is unacceptable. Civilian facilities such as hospitals, schools, and refugee camps should not and must not become military operation targets. The safety of UN staff and humanitarian and medical workers must be guaranteed. 

China calls on the parties to the conflict to respond to the international community's overwhelming call for a ceasefire, immediately cease hostilities, disengage, and make every effort to prevent further escalation. We call on Israel as the occupying power to fulfill its obligations under international law, expeditiously restore the basic subsistence supplies to Gaza, secure local communications, ensure unobstructed relief routes, and stop its collective punishment of the people of Gaza. We firmly reject the forced displacement and forcible transfer of the Palestinian population and call for the immediate repeal of the evacuation order for Northern Gaza. 

Mr. Chair, 

As Secretary-General Guterres has said, the situation today did not happen in a vacuum. The fact behind the conflict in Gaza is that the Palestinian’s living space has been squeezed to the limit by more than half a century of Israeli occupation. The continued expansion of settlement activities, which encroaches upon Palestinian land, appropriates Palestinian resources, and violates the Palestinian right to self-determination, has made an independent, sovereign, and contiguous Palestinian state even more elusive. The escalating violence, the deteriorating humanitarian situation, and the spreading despair are a constant reminder that the status quo in the OPT is unsustainable. 

Israel must stop violating Security Council Resolution 2334, cease all settlement activities, stop the deportation of Palestinians and the intensifying settler violence, and return to the right track of the two-State solution as soon as possible. The international community must face up to the root causes of the problem and must no longer use piecemeal crisis management in place of a comprehensive and justice solution or offset political and security deficits with limited economic and humanitarian measures. 

We call the UN and the Council to take responsible and meaningful actions to support the Palestinian people in the restoration and exercise of their inalienable rights and to live up to the expectations for justice of generations of Palestinians. As President of the Security Council for this month, China will continue to maintain close communication with all parties concerned, play a constructive role in promoting the cessation of hostilities, protecting civilians, and averting a greater humanitarian catastrophe, and make unremitting efforts towards a comprehensive, just, and lasting solution to the Palestinian question. 

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

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