|Remarks by Ambassador Zhang Jun at the UN Security Council Briefing on the Situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian Question|
I thank Special Coordinator Tor Wennesland for his briefing.
China has always attached great importance to the question of Palestine, which is critical to the peace and stability in the Middle East, as well as international fairness and justice. President Xi Jinping has put forward on many occasions initiatives to resolve the Palestinian question, and for ten consecutive years, he has been sending congratulatory messages to the UN commemorative meeting on the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. A short while ago, when attending the China-Arab summit and the meetings with Arab leaders, President Xi reiterated China’s unwavering support for the just cause of the Palestinian people to restore their legitimate national rights, for the establishment of an independent State of Palestine, for Palestine to become a full UN member, and our readiness to continue to make unremitting efforts towards promoting an early, just, and lasting solution to the Palestinian question.
China supports the full implementation of the two-state solution. The historical injustice suffered by the Palestinian people cannot be prolonged indefinitely. Their legitimate national rights cannot be traded. And their demand for independent statehood cannot be vetoed. The international community should stay committed, and work together to translate the two-state solution from consensus into action and from vision into reality.
China advocates strengthening the authority of the Palestinian National Authority, supports greater unity among Palestinian factions, and welcomes the important progress made by Arab countries in promoting intra-Palestinian reconciliation. We advocate putting the Palestinian question high on the international agenda, support the assumption of peace talks between Palestine and Israel as soon as possible on the basis of the two-state solution, and call for the convening of a larger scale, more authoritative, and more influential international peace conference.
China encourages Palestine and Israel to pursue common security. This year has been the deadliest year for the Palestinians in the West Bank since 2005, with over half of deaths occurring during Israeli military or search and arrest operations. Attacks on Israeli civilians also hit a record high since 2015. China condemns all indiscriminate attacks against civilians, condemns serious violations against children, opposes the excessive use of force by security forces, and calls for investigations into the violence in question to ensure accountability. The occupying power should also effectively fulfill its obligations under international law to ensure the security of the population in the occupied territories.
Palestine and Israel are inseparable neighbors with indivisible security. The international community should pay equal attention to the legitimate security concerns of both sides, encourage cooperation between the two to achieve common security through political dialogue and peace talks, put an end to violence for violence, and break the vicious cycle.
China urges compliance with the international rule of law. Six years have passed since the adoption of Council Resolution 2334, which has yet to be effectively implemented. Israeli settlement activity continues to expand, encroaching on Palestinian land and resources, squeezing the living space of the Palestinian people, and violating the Palestinian right to self-determination, making a contiguous, independent, and sovereign Palestinian state even more elusive.
The Riyadh declaration of the China-Arab summit stresses that settlements in the occupied territories are illegal, and unilateral practices to change the status quo in Jerusalem are invalid. We urge Israel to comply with its obligations under Council resolutions, and cease all settlement activity, including demolition of Palestinian homes and threats of eviction against the population of Masafer Yatta and other areas, stop unilateral changes to the status quo in the occupied territories, and return to the right track of the two-state solution.
China supports the improvement of the Palestinian economy and people’s livelihood. The 55-year-long occupation and frequent conflict and turmoil have severely constrained Palestinian economic and social development, and continue to aggravate the plight of the Palestinian people. We call upon Israel to ease unreasonable restrictions on the movement of people and goods and the use of land in the occupied territories, create conditions for the development of Palestinian communities in the West Bank, and lift the blockade of Gaza as soon as possible. The international community should provide assistance to Palestine through multiple channels to help ease its financial crisis and guarantee public services.
China always cares about the Palestinian people. We will continue to provide them with humanitarian assistance, support the implementation of livelihood projects on the ground, and increase our contribution to UNRWA.
The Palestinian-Israeli question has been on the UN agenda for over seven decades. During this time, generations of Palestinians have seen their hair graying, their childhoods lost in tears, and their hopes dashed in waiting. In today’s meeting, we have once again heard the strong voice of the overwhelming majority of countries in support of the Palestinian people for an independent statehood. Then I would have to ask this question: What is stopping the Palestinian people from achieving this legitimate right? We have to point out that every day of inaction by the international community is a disservice to peace, a betrayal of justice, and a failure to the next generation.
We call on all parties to show their conscience to uphold justice, and fulfill their commitments with actions. We hope that the United Nations and the Security Council will take substantive steps to advance the two-state solution, and support the Palestinian people in restoring and exercising their inalienable rights, so that Palestine and Israel can coexist in peace, the two peoples, Arabs and Jews, can live in harmony, and lasting peace can be achieved in the Middle East.
The new year is upon us. We hope the new year will bring new hopes to the Palestinian people.
I thank you, Madam President.