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Explanation of Vote by Ambassador Zhang Jun on the UN Security Council Resolution Regarding the Palestinian-Israeli Situation

2023-11-15 20:20

Dear Colleagues,

40 days after the outbreak of the new round of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, the Security Council adopted its first resolution focusing on humanitarian concerns and highlighting the protection of children. Malta, the United Arab Emirates, and other members have done a great deal of work in this regard, which China appreciates. China has always supported all efforts aimed at promoting a ceasefire and an end to the fighting and restoring peace. We welcome any initiative conducive to the protection of civilians and the easing of humanitarian crisis. Proceeding from this position, we supported the draft resolution submitted by the Arab countries to the tenth emergency special session of the General Assembly, supported the draft resolutions not long ago submitted by Russia and Brazil at the Security Council, and just voted in favor of the draft resolution submitted by Malta.

Meanwhile, it should also be pointed out that the Council should have adopted a more comprehensive and robust resolution much earlier. For reasons known to all, in particular, the repeated and persistent obstruction of a permanent member of the Council, this resolution at present can only serve as a first step based on minimum consensus. Despite this, the resolution is still of positive significance as an initial step towards a ceasefire and a minimum request to save lives, which helps avert a greater humanitarian crisis and catastrophe.

We look forward to the immediate realization of durable humanitarian pause as called for in the resolution to ensure a sufficient number of days of cessation of hostilities to allow UN humanitarian agencies, the International Committee of the Red Cross, and others to carry out full scale humanitarian operations, to urgently search for and rescue missing children, to transfer and treat the seriously ill and seriously injured, and to rehabilitate critical infrastructure.

We express our grave concerns and strong opposition to the clear violations of international humanitarian law taking place in Gaza. Over the past dozens of hours, Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza has been under siege, operating rooms and wards bombarded, and premature babies stopped breathing in incubators with electricity being cut off. Thousands of people remain besieged in the hospital, and their safety and well-being are worrisome. We urge Israel to immediately cease its military operations against civilian facilities including hospitals and to restore basic supplies of water, electricity, and fuel, among others as soon as possible. We would like to reiterate that we are strongly against the forced displacement and transfer of the Palestinian people.

The resolution just adopted also makes a clear call on the issue related to hostages. We reiterate our call to guarantee the safety and humanitarian needs of the hostages and to support active diplomatic efforts to facilitate the early release of the persons concerned.

The effectiveness of Council resolutions lies in their implementation. The key is for the parties concerned to implement the provisions of the resolution to the letter. In this regard. Russia's concerns about monitoring and follow-up are legitimate. It is necessary for the Security Council to give them due considerations, and to establish a necessary mechanism to take follow-up actions to monitor and report on the implementation.

Colleagues,

On November 11, at a joint Arab-Islamic extraordinary summit, country leaders called on the Security Council to take a decisive and binding decision to end the fighting in Gaza and put an end to the violations of international law. This represents the strong voice of the regional countries and the common expectations of the international community.  The Council must assume its responsibility in conjunction with the developments on the ground and take further meaningful and responsible actions in a timely manner.

We must continue to make an immediate ceasefire an overriding goal in order to prevent further casualties and destruction as the fighting rages on.

We must make the opening of humanitarian space a priority, clearing the way for adequate humanitarian supplies to enter Gaza and creating the conditions necessary for humanitarian agencies to operate in a safe and unhindered manner.

We must take the revitalization of the prospects for the two-State solution as the way forward and galvanize diplomatic efforts to promote a comprehensive, just, and lasting solution to the question of Palestine. China would like to emphasize that any arrangements on the future of Gaza must respect the will and the independent choice of the Palestinian people.

Colleagues,

War tests conscience and justice while peace calls for reason and wisdom. On issues bearing on war and peace and long-term stability and security of the Middle East, the Security Council must stand on the side of justice and make choices that stand the test of history. As President of the Security Council for this month, China will continue to work with all parties to strengthen coordination, build consensus, and promote the Security Council to shoulder its due responsibilities.

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