|Remarks by Ambassador Zhang Jun at the UN Security Council Briefing on the Situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian Question|
I’d like to thank Special Coordinator Tor Wennesland for his briefing.
China is deeply concerned about the continuous deterioration of the security situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. Recently Israeli security forces have been conducting increasingly frequent search and arrest operations, violence and conflict in the West Bank has continued to spread, with the number of civilian casualties rising. According to UN statistics, this year is the deadliest year for Palestinians in the West Bank since 2005. Many Palestinian children’s lives are dying before they can bloom, such as Fulla, who was shot dead a day before her 16th birthday. The civilian casualties of Israel are equally heartbreaking. China condemns all indiscriminate attacks on civilians, deplores the grave violations against children, opposes the excessive use of force by security forces, and calls for investigations into the violence and for accountability.
Israel and Palestine are inseparable neighbors, whose security is interdependent and indivisible. If one party’s security is based on the other’s insecurity, the cycle of violence will not be broken, and the security dilemma cannot be overcome. The international community should pay equal attention to the security concerns of Palestine and Israel, and encourage both sides to find the greatest common ground through dialogue and cooperation to achieve common security. At the same time, the occupying party should also effectively fulfill its obligations under international law to ensure the security of the people in the occupied territory.
Improving the humanitarian and economic situation of Palestine is urgently needed. This month, a fire in Jabaliya refugee camp in the Gaza Strip claimed the lives of more than 20 people. Under Israel’s 15-year blockade, Gaza suffers from poor infrastructure, electricity and energy shortages and the lack of medical resources, leaving more than 2 million people in dire situation. In the West Bank, large areas of land have been designated by Israel as military training areas or for other purposes, effectively closing it off to Palestinian construction, economic activity and development.
We call on Israel to ease restrictions on the movement of people and humanitarian, reconstruction materials into and out of the Gaza Strip, to life the blockade on Gaza as soon as possible, and to effectively create conditions for development of Palestinian communities in the West Bank. The international community should provide assistance to Palestine through multiple channels to help Palestine ease their financial crisis, ensure public services, develop the economy and improve people’s lives. China welcomes the adoption of a resolution by the fourth committee of the GA to renew the mandate of UNRWA, and supports the Agency’s work of providing relief and assistance to Palestinian refugees.
The continued expansion of settlement activities that encroach on the Palestinian land, swallow up Palestinian resources and violate Palestine’s right to self-determination have made a contiguous, independent and sovereign state of Palestine even more elusive. We urge Israel to cease all settlement activities in accordance with UNSC Resolution 2334, including demolition of Palestinian homes and the threat of evictions against people in areas such as Masafer Yatta, and to return to the right track of the two-State solution.
In November 1947, the General Assembly adopted Resolution 181 which envisaged the establishment of a Jewish State and an Arab State in Palestine. 75 years later, the question of Palestine remains unresolved, and inalienable rights of the Palestinian people to self-determination, independence and statehood remain unfulfilled, the reasons of which require serious reflection. The most fundamental support to the Palestinian people is to give them long overdue justice.
The international community should always place the question of Palestine high on the international agenda, continue to adhere to the two-state solution, and provide more assistance to promote the resumption of dialogue between Palestine and Israel on an equal footing. China supports the UN, the Arab League, OIC and countries of influence to play a more active role, in the broader and more effective efforts to promote peace. The Security Council must, with a sense of urgency, take substantive steps to advance the two-state solution and support the Palestinian people in restoring and exercising their inalienable rights. On issues concerning the future and fate of the Palestinian people, no one has the right to veto.
In conclusion, I would like to reiterate China’s support for the establishment of a fully sovereign and independent State of Palestine based on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital, for the peaceful coexistence of Palestine and Israel and the joint development of the Arab and Jewish peoples. China stands ready to work with the international community to practice true multilateralism, promote a comprehensive, just and lasting solution to the Palestinian question, and achieve security, stability, development and prosperity in the Middle East at an early date.
Thank you, Mr. President.