|Remarks by Ambassador Dai Bing at Security Council Briefing on Situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian Question|
I thank Special Coordinator Tor Wennesland for his briefing.
Two days from now, it will be the fifth anniversary of the adoption of the Security Council Resolution 2334. Regrettably, the resolution remains unimplemented to this day. The settlement activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territory have not only not ceased, but have continued to expand. This year, in Area C of the West Bank, tenders have been announced for over 3300 settlement units, almost double the figure of 2020. 835 Palestinian structures were demolished, displacing 1044 Palestinians, the highest number since 2016. China is deeply concerned over this. Settlement activities in the OPT violate international law, undermine the continuity of the OPT, squeeze the living space for Palestinians, and continuously jeopardize the prospects of the two-state solution. We once again urge Israel to abide by Security Council Resolution 2334, cease all settlement activities and return to the track of the two-state solution.
The security situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory is worrying. Since the beginning of this year, operations by security forces in the West Bank have caused massive Palestinian casualties, violence by the Israeli settlers have intensified, attacks occur frequently, the tensions near Nablus last week have once again sounded the alarm. We urge all parties to remain calm and exercise restraint, refrain from measures that could lead to further escalations, avoid harming civilians, and work together to deescalate the situation. Israel should earnestly fulfill its obligations under international humanitarian law, ensure safety for the people of the occupied territory and their property, thoroughly investigate attacks by settlers and incidents of violence against civilians, to bring the perpetrators to justice. At the same time, Israel’s right to exist and its legitimate security concerns should also be respected.
The per capita GDP in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip has been shrinking for years. The Palestinian authority is faced with a financial crisis. Gaza, after the conflict in May, is in dire need of recovery and reconstruction. The people in the OPT find themselves in hardships. The international community should take urgent actions, offer assistance to Palestine through multiple channels, and support UNRWA in its work of relief and assistance. Israel should further facilitate access for humanitarian aid and reconstruction materials, and lift the blockade and siege on Gaza as soon as possible. China has always cared about the Palestinian people. We have already provided Palestine and UNRWA with multiple batches of assistance, including among others, cash transfers, anti-pandemic supplies and COVID-19 vaccines. We will donate another 1.5 million doses of vaccine to Palestine. We will offer the people of Gaza 500,000 doses in partnership with Egypt, and provide 200,000 doses to UNRWA.
The question of Palestine has always been at the heart of the Middle East question. The international community should keep to the right direction of the two-state solution and make greater efforts to advance the Middle East peace process on the basis of relevant UN resolutions, the land for peace principle and other international consensus. We must not allow 2022 to become yet another year misspent. We hope that Palestine and Israel will seize the opportunity brought by the recent high-level engagements, continue to build the momentum, gradually rebuild mutual trust, and resume dialogue on equal footing at an early date. We call for broader international efforts for peace and support the UN, the Arab League, the OIC and countries with significant influence in playing a more positive role. The Security Council should also shoulder its responsibilities, have a greater sense of urgency and work actively towards the just and lasting settlement of the Palestinian question.
Thank you, Mr. President.