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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

2023-12-29 19:10

Mr. President,

I thank the briefers for their briefings.

More than 80 days have passed since the outbreak of this round of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and more than 2 million innocent people in Gaza have plunged into an unprecedented humanitarian catastrophe. This is in spite of the fact that both the General Assembly and the Security Council have respectively adopted a number of resolutions strongly calling for a ceasefire, strongly calling for an end to the collective punishment of innocent people of Gaza, and strongly calling for compliance by the occupying power with international law and international humanitarian law.

Sadly, the blockade and siege of Gaza, the violence and killings of civilians, and raids and apprehensions in the West Bank continue unabated. As the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Mr. Volker Türk said, the Palestinian people are being subjected to dehumanization. The international community must pull all its efforts to promote a ceasefire, mitigate the catastrophe, and save lives.

First, the protraction of the war will only cause more casualties on both sides, exacerbate the obstacles to humanitarian assistance, and undermine the prospects for a political settlement. There is no safe place in Gaza and hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who have been repeatedly forced to move have nowhere else to go. Secretary-General Guterres has repeatedly warned that in Gaza the bombing and shelling do not have the conditions for UN agencies to carry out humanitarian relief. We urge Israel to immediately cease its indiscriminate military attacks and collective punishment of the people of Gaza and to provide the necessary conditions for humanitarian agencies to carry out their assistance work in Gaza.

Second, the current humanitarian situation in Gaza is extremely dire, with life saving supplies nearly exhausted, the medical system paralyzed, social order on the verge of collapse, tens of thousands of pregnant women facing the threat of extreme salvation, newborns being deprived of feeding because of their mother's malnutrition, and a man-made, predictable and tragic catastrophe unfolding in Gaza. We welcomed the appointment by the Secretary-General of the senior humanitarian and reconstruction coordinator for Gaza. We call on all parties to effectively and fully implement Council Resolution 2720, and look forward to the early establishment of a mechanism to ensure the safe and unimpeded entry of adequate humanitarian supplies into Gaza.

Third, Israel’s settlement activities in the West Bank and other occupied territories and its continued escalation of raids, searches, and settler violence constitute a grave violation of Council Resolution 2334 and severely erode the basis of the two-State solution. We urged Israel to uphold its responsibilities as the occupying power, cease all settlement activities, curb the escalating settler violence, and thoroughly investigate and hold perpetrators accountable for all relevant incidents.

Fourth, the crux of the protracted Palestinian-Israeli issue lies in the failure to implement the two-State solution and the failure to guarantee the fundamental rights of the Palestinian people. We call for an international peace conference that is more broad-based and effective, so as to expedite the formation of a timetable on the roadmap for the implementation of the two-State solution. We support Palestine’s full membership in the UN and the early resumption of direct negotiations between Palestine and Israel.

I thank you, Mr. President.

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