|Remarks by Ambassador Geng Shuang at Security Council Open Debate on Situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian Question|
I thank Special Coordinator Tor Wennesland for his briefing and welcome representatives of Palestine and Israel to the meeting today. I wish to emphasize the following three points.
First, the current situation has once again highlighted the importance of achieving common security. The recent period has seen the continued volatile security situation in the occupied Palestinian territory. The search and arrest operations carried out by Israeli security forces in the West Bank have resulted in large number of Palestinian casualties. Israelis have also been killed by attacks. The escalating violence has given rise to fear and hatred, intensified conflict and turmoil, and may push the situation out of control. This development is deeply unsettling for China.
Israel and Palestine are and will remain each other's neighbor with interdependent and indivisible security. We call on parties concerned to exercise maximum restraint, refrain from any unilateral action that may lead to miscalculation or escalation of tensions, and make every effort to reverse the negative trends on the ground and to de-escalate the situation as soon as possible. The occupying power should earnestly fulfill its obligations under international law to ensure the safety and security of the people in the occupied territory. The international community should attach equal importance to the security concerns of both Palestine and Israel and encourage both sides to find the greatest common ground through dialogue and cooperation to achieve common security. We support the efforts of the Special Coordinator Wennesland to that end.
Second, the current situation once again highlights the need to implement international consensus. Also in the West Bank, more than 1200 Palestinians in the Masafer Yatta region are at risk of eviction. Many who are reluctant to leave their homes where they have lived for generations are living in caves in difficult conditions. Approximately 18% of Area C of the West Bank has been designated as military zone for training, with some 50% more designated for other purposes, effectively closing it off to Palestinian construction, economic activity and development.
The continued expansion of settlement activities encroaches on Palestinian land, expropriates Palestinian resources, violates the Palestinian people's right to self-determination, making a contiguous, independent and sovereign Palestinian State even more elusive. We call Israel to cease all settlement activities and create conditions for the development of Palestinian communities in the West Bank, as called for in Security Council resolution 2334.
The current situation has once again highlighted the urgency of advancing the two-State solution. The Palestinian question remain unresolved after 70 plus years, the flare ups of violent conflicts, the deteriorating humanitarian situation and the spreading hopelessness are constant reminder that the status quo in the occupied Palestinian territory is unsustainable. The international community cannot replace a comprehensive and justice solution with piecemeal crisis management, nor can it make up for what is overdue on political and security fronts with limited economic and humanitarian measures.
The international community should facilitate the resumption of peace talks between the two sides as soon as possible, steer the Middle East peace process back on track and seek a long term settlement on the basis of the two-State solution. In this regard, the Security Council is duty bound to take active and robust actions to support the Palestinian people in restoring and exercising their inalienable rights, and to live up to the expectations of generations of Palestinians for fairness and justice.
The intra-Palestinian reconciliation is crucial to the cause of independent Palestinian statehood. China welcomes the reconciliation agreement reached by the Palestinian political factions in Algiers this month, and commands the positive role played by Algeria. We believe that it will be conducive to enhancing Palestinian unity and promoting the peace talks between Palestine and Israel.
In conclusion, I wish to reiterate China's support for the establishment of an independent State of Palestine that enjoys full sovereignty on the basis of the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital, the peaceful coexistence of Palestine and Israel, and the common development of the Arab and Jewish peoples. China will continue to work with the international community to make relentless efforts for a comprehensive, just solution to the Palestinian question.
Thank you, Mr. President.