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

2023-05-24 12:00

Madam President,

I thank Special Coordinator Tor Wennesland and Ms. Tania Hary for their briefings.

This month, the occupied Palestinian territories, in particular the Gaza Strip, once again saw tensions. On May 10, the Security Council held emergency consultations at the request of the UAE, France, and China. Through the mediation of Egypt and other relevant countries, the parties concerned finally reached a ceasefire. However, it must be noted that the tensions and conflict between Palestine and Israel have been repeating themselves over the past few years, fully demonstrating that a long-stalled peace process is not sustainable, that piecemeal crisis management will not last, and that a comprehensive and just solution is irreplaceable. Here I wish to stress three points.

First, the historical status quo of religious holy sites in Jerusalem must be respected and upheld. On May 21, A senior Israeli security official entered the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound for a second time this year and caused renewed tensions. On the issue of religious holy sites, Israel must stop its provocations, guarantee the right to worship of Muslim worshipers, uphold the peace and tranquility of religious holy sites, and respect the custodianship of Jordan.

Second, the illegal expansion of settlements on the occupied territories must stop. Settlement activities violate international law and Security Council Resolution 2334. Since the beginning of this year, Israel has continued to advance unilateral actions on approving returns, building new settlements, and legalizing settlements. We urge Israel to immediately halt these actions and stop encroaching upon the land and resources of the Palestinian people.

Third, international humanitarian law must be observed. Since the beginning of this year, over 100 Palestinians, including children, have lost their lives in conflict. Israel also suffered civilian casualties. All parties concerned should stop all violence against civilians and stop targeting schools, hospitals, and other public infrastructure. The plight of Palestinian refugees should be alleviated and the economic and livelihood needs of Palestine should be met. Israel should lift the blockade on Gaza as soon as possible. The flow of people and reconstruction supplies in and out of Gaza should be kept unhindered.

Madam President,

Upholding the historical status quo of religious holy sites, ceasing expansion of settlements, and respecting international humanitarian law are the fundamental requirements for preventing the repeated escalations of tensions between Palestine and Israel. The parties concerned are duty-bound to implement them and should not use them as bargaining chips. The international community has the responsibility to ensure their implementation and should not be indifferent. Honoring these three requirements is also a fundamental step towards reviving the two-State solution. The international community should not just talk the talk in its support for the two-State solution, or take the support for direct Palestinian-Israeli negotiations as an excuse for shirking one’s own responsibilities. The country with major influence on the parties concerned should make concrete efforts to advance the Middle East peace process and should not unjustifiably prevent the Security Council from arriving at the minimum consensus on the Palestine-Israeli issue.

Madam President,

China will continue to firmly support the Palestinian people and their just cause to restore their legitimate national rights, and support the establishment of a fully sovereign and independent state of Palestine based on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital. We will join hands with the international community and contribute positively to the early achievement of a comprehensive, just, and lasting solution to the Palestinian question and the realization of the harmonious coexistence and common development of the Arab and Jewish peoples.

Thank you, President.

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