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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

2024-03-26 13:00

Mr. President, 

I thank Special Coordinator Tor Wennesland for his briefing. 

Yesterday, the Council with 14 vote in favor and 1 vote in abstention, adopted Resolution 2728, demanding an immediate ceasefire in Gaza for the month of Ramadan leading to a permanent sustainable ceasefire. The US, after blocking the Council’s effective action on multiple occasions, finally decided yesterday not to single-handedly veto Council decisions. This should have deserved our recognition. However, its significance was offset by a series of statements and behaviors of the US after the vote. This makes us question the political will and sincerity of the US. I wish to emphasize that Council resolutions are binding, including Resolution 2728. This is beyond any doubt or challenge. Every country joins the UN with a commitment to implement Council decisions. This is an obligation under the UN Charter. As a permanent member of the Security Council, the US should take the lead in its implementation. We urged Israel to effectively comply with the demands of the Council resolution and cease its military offensive against Gaza and its collective punishment of the population in Gaza. We urge the US to play a constructive role, exert positive influence on Israel, and use all effective means to support the implementation of the resolution. 

Mr. President, 

More than 170 days have passed since the outbreak of the conflict in Gaza. The humanitarian catastrophe is beyond imagination, with millions of people in famine and struggling on the verge of death. The blockade of Gaza and the man-made barriers to humanitarian access must be lifted without delay. We urge Israel to fully open Rafah and other land crossings to ensure sufficient, safe, and speedy access of humanitarian supplies into Gaza. 

Secretary-General Guterres and the UN have made tremendous efforts to promote a ceasefire in Gaza and to alleviate the humanitarian disaster. China fully supports the work of the SG and the UN, and firmly opposes malicious attacks against the SG and the Organization. UNRWA plays an indispensable and crucial role in easing the humanitarian situation in Gaza. We urged Israel to immediately lift its restrictions on UNRWA’s relief operations and call on those countries that have not yet restored their funding to UNRWA to do so as soon as possible. 

Mr. President,

While the conflict in Gaza continues, the situation in the West Bank is becoming increasingly tense. Violence by the IDF and the settlers in the West Bank has intensified, resulting in massive casualties among the Palestinians. We call for an effective curb on settler violence and for a thorough investigation into relevant incidents with accountability. For Muslims, Ramadan is the most sacred and important time. China urges Israel to guarantee the rights of Muslims to visit the Al-Aqsa Mosque and to effectively maintain peace and tranquility of the holy sites. Israeli settlement activities in the West Bank constitute a serious violation of international law and UN Security Council Resolution 2334, and erode the basis of the two-State solution. China condemns Israel’s continued advancement of its settlement activities and its recent announcement of new plans for large scale expansion.  

Mr. President, 

The crux of the protracted Palestinian question lies in the failure to implement the two-State solution and the long-standing disregard for the Palestinians’ rights to statehood, survival, and return. The current round of the Gaza conflict reminds us once again that we can no longer continue to ignore the fact that Palestine has been under occupation for a long time. Nor can we continue to evade the long-cherished aspiration of the Palestinians to establish an independent state. China calls for greater international and regional diplomatic efforts to reshape a credible multilateral process and to revitalize the political prospects for the two-State solution. We advocate the convening of a larger scale, more authoritative, and more effective international peace conference to formulate a timetable and a roadmap for the implementation of the two-State solution. We support Palestine in becoming a full member of the UN as soon as possible, and we hope the Council will put this issue on its agenda in the near future. 

I thank you, Mr. President.

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