|Remarks by Ambassador Zhang Jun at Security Council Briefing on Situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian Question|
I thank Special Coordinator Wennesland, Commissioner-General Lazzarini, and Mr. Khalidi for the briefings.
Over the past month, the Palestinian-Israeli tensions have been tugging at the heartstrings of the entire world. The Security Council held a number of emergency meetings on the matter and issued a press statement last Sunday, in which Council members welcomed and called for full adherence to the ceasefire, mourned the loss of civilian lives resulting from the violence, and reiterated their support for a comprehensive peace based on the two-State solution. We hope the message from this Council speaking with one voice will contribute to the de-escalation of the situation and the relaunch of the peace process.
China commends the mediation and good offices by Egypt, Qatar and others. We thank, in particular, the tireless efforts of Special Coordinator Wennesland. That said, we must be cognizant of the fragilities that persist on the ground and the need for the international community to step up efforts to ensure the parties concerned respect the ceasefire in good faith in the interest of restoring calm in full as soon as possible.
Renewed confrontations in and outside al-Aqsa Mosque last weekend point to continued tensions in East Jerusalem. We once again urge all parties concerned to exercise restraint and refrain from any moves that may escalate the situation. Israel must genuinely put an end to violence, threats and provocations against the Muslims, maintain and respect the historical status quo of the holy sites in Jerusalem, stop the evictions of the Palestinian people, and halt all settlement activities.
The humanitarian crisis in the Occupied Palestinian Territory is concerning. In Gaza, years of blockade, the COVID-19 pandemic, and now over 10 days of conflict and turmoil have conspired to plunge the residents of Gaza, over 2 million of them, in dire straits. We call on the international community to act without delay and provide humanitarian assistance to Palestine through multiple channels and emergency funding support to UNRWA. We call on Israel to facilitate humanitarian access and completely lift the blockade on Gaza as soon as possible.
China will send 1 million US dollars in cash to Palestine as emergency humanitarian aid, 1 million US dollars of donation and 200,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine to UNRWA. We will continue to do whatever we can to help the Palestinian people in ways that address their practical needs.
The Palestinian-Israeli issue has been on the UN's agenda for more than 70 years. Each time the Palestinian-Israeli situation is thrown into turmoil, it is an alarm bell for international rule of law, weighs on human conscience, and tests the effectiveness of multilateral mechanisms. The latest round of conflict tells us once again that the Middle East Peace Process must not be derailed; the question of Palestine must not be marginalized; the sufferings of the Palestinian people and their legitimate rights must not be ignored; the multiple binding resolutions adopted by the Security Council must not be forgotten; and the Council’s responsibilities must not be shirked.
While addressing the Security Council emergency open meeting on the 16 May, His Excellency Mr. Wang Yi, China's State Councilor and Foreign Minister, pointed out that an enduring settlement can only be achieved on the basis of the two-State solution. Only when the Palestinian question is resolved in a comprehensive, just and durable manner can lasting peace and common security be truly realized in the Middle East. We must push Palestine and Israel to resume dialogue on an equal footing as soon as possible in order to rebuild trust, deescalate disputes and work out a way to live in peace as neighbors. The international community, especially countries with influence on Palestine and Israel, must take an objective and impartial position and work hard to facilitate the Middle East Peace Process, while enhancing international coordination and strengthening the synergy for peace. The Security Council has primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security, and as such, must take robust actions to address the Palestinian-Israeli issue and reaffirmed its unwavering support for the two-State solution.
As a genuine friend of the Palestinian people, China supports the resumption of peace talks between Palestine and Israel on the basis of the two-State solution as soon as possible. China supports the early establishment of an independent state of Palestine that enjoys full sovereignty on the basis of the 1967 borders and with East Jerusalem as its capital. This is the way to fundamentally achieve peaceful coexistence between Palestine and Israel. We call on all parties in the international community to uphold peace, justice, fairness and good conscience, practice true multilateralism, and make due contributions to the just and lasting settlement of the Palestinian question.