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Remarks by Ambassador Geng Shuang at Security Council VTC on the Situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian Question

2021-04-22 11:37

Mr. President,

I thank Special Coordinator Wennesland and Mr. Paulsen for their briefings and welcome Palestinian and Israeli representatives to attend today's meeting.

For some time now, the Middle East peace process and the occupied Palestinian territory have been receiving increased international attention. The region has seen changed dynamics, and the question of Palestine a new state of play. In the context of what we heard earlier from the briefers, I would like to underscore the following points.

First, the question of Palestine is at the root and source of instability in the Middle East. It must be kept front and center on the international agenda. The international community cannot afford to halt its effort in the face of challenges and balk at the obstructions. Recently, there have been frequent interactions between and among the principal parties of the Palestinian-Israeli issue, creating a positive momentum which we find encouraging. The international community must seize this opportunity and step up efforts to translate this momentum into firm support for the two-state solution, into marked improvements in the situation on the ground, and into substantive progress in the Palestinian-Israeli peace talks.

In this process, the parties concerned should avoid taking any actions that undermine mutual trust and further antagonize each other. Israel should cease its settlement activities and take steps to prevent violence against civilians. On the other hand, Israel’s right to exist should be respected and secured and its legitimate security concerns addressed.

China firmly supports the Palestinian people in establishing a fully sovereign and independent state of Palestine based on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital. In March this year, during his visit to the Middle East, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi proposed a five-point initiative on achieving security and stability in the Middle East, noting that nothing represents equity and justice in the Middle East more than a sound solution to the question of Palestine and earnest implementation of the two-state solution. China reaffirms its commitment to and support for a two-state solution, and shall continue to invite peace advocates from Palestine and Israel to China for dialogue. We also welcome Palestinian and Israeli representatives to China for direct negotiations.

Second, the international community should create enabling conditions for the Palestinian elections for which preparations are underway. The holding of elections is a key agreement reached by Palestinian factions at the national dialogue earlier this year, and it is the most important political event for Palestine this year. They will be Palestinians’ first elections since 2006. As such, their importance to reconciliation and unity cannot be overemphasized. We commend Palestine for having done a huge amount of work in preparation for the elections and acknowledge the positive progress achieved to date. We have also noticed new developments and obstacles that have recently emerged around the elections. China is of the view that it is the common aspiration of the Palestinian people that elections be held as scheduled peacefully and smoothly across the length and breadth of the Palestinian territory including East Jerusalem, and that the international community should play a positive and constructive role, and work together to help make sure the elections go ahead as planned so as not to put dampers on the hard-won momentum we are witnessing today.

Third, efforts should be intensified to improve the situation of the Palestinian people. The already dire humanitarian situation in Palestine has been made more fragile by the COVID-19 pandemic. The international community should invest more to support Palestine in responding to the pandemic, developing its economy and improving its people's livelihoods. We welcome the recent announcement by the United States that its assistance to Palestine will resume. We hope this development will lead to and catalyze further positive initiatives. The international community should keep up its sights on the full lifting of the blockade of the Gaza Strip and help ensure that essential services, humanitarian relief, and vaccination cover all the people in need in the occupied territory.

China has consistently kept up its support through tangible actions for Palestine’s COVID-19 pandemic response and livelihood improvement endeavors. On 29 March, 100,000 doses of COVID vaccine donated by the Chinese government to Palestine arrived and were delivered to help bolster Palestine’s vaccination program. Earlier this month, a solar power project at a children's hospital in Gaza funded by Chinese government was completed. It will help meet power shortages faced by the children's hospital, so it's in a better position to treat Gaza’s patients.

Thank you, Mr. President.

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