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Remarks by Ambassador Zhang Jun at the UN Security Council Briefing on the Situation in the Middle East, Including the Palestinian Question

2024-01-31 16:00

Madam President,

I thank Algeria for the initiative to convene this meeting and thank USG Martin Griffiths for his briefing.

More than three months have passed since the outbreak of this round of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The flames of war are still raging, and the humanitarian disaster is still intensifying. In the face of repeated violations of international law and international humanitarian law, in the face of repeated breaches of the bottom line of human dignity, morality and conscience, and in the face of enormous threats to regional peace and security, the international community has made increasingly strong appeal and the ICJ has also taken forceful action. The Security Council has no alternative but to immediately take further action, with the greatest sense of responsibility and the strongest determination, to safeguard justice, save lives and achieve peace.

We must push for an immediate ceasefire with the utmost urgency. There has long been an overwhelming consensus in the international community for an immediate ceasefire, and it’s regrettable that a certain country has persisted in their obstruction and passive attitude. Real security cannot be achieved by military means, and the protracted fighting in Gaza will only lead to more casualties and the wider regional instability, making peace in the Middle East more elusive. The Security Council should take strong action to pull all diplomatic efforts towards an immediate ceasefire. Israel should immediately cease its indiscriminate military attacks and destruction in Gaza. At the same time, every effort should be made to prevent the spillover effects of the Gaza conflict on the wider region, including the Red Sea. We call on all parties to exercise calm and restraint and to refrain from actions that will exacerbate the situation.

We must take pragmatic steps to alleviate the unprecedented humanitarian catastrophe. The World Health Organization Director-General has warned and described the conditions in Gaza as “hellish”. Security Council resolutions 2712 and 2720 must be fully implemented, and Israel must fully cooperate by removing obstacles to the access of supplies at all levels, opening up all access routes by land, sea and air, and effectively protecting humanitarian organizations and their staff. We support further action by the Council to clear the obstacles to humanitarian relief. The provisional measures ordered by the ICJ last week is a strong response to the concern of the international community for the protection of civilians, the easing of the regional situation and the alleviation of the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. These provisional measures must be implemented swiftly and effectively.

We must unswervingly promote the implementation of the two-State solution, which is the only viable way to achieve peace between Palestine and Israel. Israel must immediately stop eroding the basis of the two-State solution, stop the forced displacement of the population of Gaza and the expansion of settlements in the West Bank, as well as the searches, arrests and attacks against Palestinians. China calls for greater international and regional diplomatic efforts to reshape a credible multilateral process. We call for an international peace conference that is more broad-based and effective, so as to expedite the formation of a timetable and a roadmap for the implementation of the two-State solution. We support Palestine’s full membership in the UN.

Madam President,

We have taken note of the accusations of the alleged involvement of UNRWA employees in the October 7 attack and support an independent, impartial and objective investigation by the UN. It should also be pointed out that individual cases should not dilute attention from the situation in Gaza and the efforts for a ceasefire and the alleviation of the humanitarian disaster. UNRWA has played an indispensable and irreplaceable role in alleviating the humanitarian disaster in Gaza, which is the hope for survival for the 2 million people in Gaza. We should not deny the whole work of UNRWA entirely based on the actions of a few individuals, nor should we cease support for all at a time when it's most needed, which would mean cutting off the lifeline of the people in Gaza and leading to additional collective punishment for the Palestinian people. We call on the international community, especially the major donor countries to reconsider their decision to halt funding in the interest of the lives of the people in Gaza, and the greater good of humanitarian relief, and continue to support UNRWA’s work during the investigation.

Thank you, Madam President.

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