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

2023-08-21 23:42

Madam President, 

I thank Special Coordinator Tor Wennesland for the briefing just made. Like many of his previous briefings, we have not heard any encouraging news or updates. 

The number of Security Council meetings on the question of Palestine is just uncountable. All I know is that the question of Palestine has dragged on for more than 70 years and remains unresolved. Under the current circumstances, we must rely on firm political will, effective diplomatic actions, and resolute collective efforts to prevent the Palestinian-Israeli situation from getting out of control and promote a comprehensive, just, and lasting settlement to the question of Palestine. 

First, it is imperative to oppose violence and incitement to violence and earnestly uphold international law. For some time, the situation on the ground remains tense with negative incidents happening one after another, leading to escalation of violence and civilian casualties. This year has witnessed the killing of over 40 Palestinian children. China expresses its deep concern. We condemn all violence against civilians, condemn the act of killing and injuring children, and oppose the excessive use of force by the security forces. All parties concerned must exercise calm and restraint, and the occupying power should earnestly fulfill its obligations under international law and ensure the safety and security of the population and their property in the occupied territories. 

The barbaric expansion of settlements continues to change the status quo in the occupied territories, which is in violation of international law and Security Council resolutions and further exacerbates the confrontation between Palestine and Israel. We urge an end to all settlement activities and an end to the escalation of settler violence. The religious holy sites in Jerusalem bear on the religious sentiment of the followers. We must take a clear stand against irresponsible provocation and incitement, earnestly respect the historical status quo of the religious holy sites, and respect Jordan's custodianship over the holy sites. 

Second, it is imperative to promote economic development and effectively protect people's livelihood. The prolonged occupation has severely constrained Palestinian economic and social development and the volatile security situation has exacerbated the livelihood of the Palestinian people. We call on Israel to ease and lift unreasonable restrictions on the movement of people and goods and the use of land in the occupied territories, create conditions for the development of the Palestinian communities in the West Bank, and lift the blockade of the Gaza Strip as soon as possible. 

We call on the international community to pay attention to and support the needs of the Palestinian economy and the people's livelihood, provide humanitarian assistance, and help Palestinian alleviate its financial crisis. Last week, China signed an agreement with UNRWA to make an annual contribution to the agency. China will continue to provide humanitarian and development assistance to Palestine and support the work of the agency. 

Third, It is imperative to fulfill international commitments and earnestly promote the two-State solution. Piecemeal method of crisis management is unsustainable, and the fundamental solution to the Palestinian question lies in the establishment of an independent state of Palestine with full sovereignty based on the 1967 border with East Jerusalem as its capital. The international community must place the question of Palestine higher on the international agenda, and the UN Security Council must take forceful actions to advance the two-State solution with a greater sense of urgency, shoulder its responsibilities under the UN Charter, and earnestly uphold fairness and justice. 

China welcomes the recent tripartite summit of Egypt, Jordan, and Palestine, and supports the convening of a larger, more authoritative, and more influential international peace conference to create conditions for the resumption of peace talks. China is ready to continue to work with the international community to make unremitting efforts to achieve a comprehensive, just, and lasting settlement to the question of Palestine at an early date, and promote lasting peace and stability in the Middle East. 

Thank you, Madam President.

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