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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

2022-04-25 22:05

Madam President, 

China thanks Special Coordinator Wennesland for his briefing, and welcomes the representatives of the observer state of Palestine and Israel to the meeting today. 

Recently, major Islamic, Jewish and Christian holidays have come one after another. While the worshippers are all looking forward to celebrating their respective religious holidays in peace and security, the Palestinian and Israeli situation is confronted with a new round of tension and escalation. Enforcement operations by the security forces of Israel have led to more casualties of Palestinian civilians. Israeli police has entered the Al-Aqsa Mosque many times, and clashed with the Palestinian people, further aggravating the tension. Exchanges of rockets between the Gaza Strip and Israel have brought more risk to the situation. And attacks against Israeli civilians have also occurred from time to time. 

Religious holidays should be an opportunity to realize peace, rather than a trigger for the relapse into hostilities. China condemns all attacks against civilians, and opposes all violations of the historic status quo of religious holy sites. The security of Israel and Palestine is interdependent and indivisible. If a side’s security is established at the expense of the other side’s security, it is impossible to break the cycle of violence or resolve the security conundrum. Only by upholding the common, comprehensive cooperative, and sustainable security concept, can peaceful coexistence be realized. We call on all parties, in particular Israel, to exercise restraint, and prevent the situation from escalating further or even going out of control. Israel has recently indicated that from now to the end of Ramadan, non-Muslim worshipers will be banned from the holy site. This is an important step in the right direction. Under international law, the occupying power has the obligation to take measures to prevent security threats or provocations against Palestinian civilians. 

China supports continued communication between the Special Coordinator and Israel, Palestine, and other parties to push for de-escalation. The Arab League ministerial committee held the meeting the other day, and issued a communique, calling on the Security Council to prevent the escalation of violence, and to restore peace and security. China supports the Arab League and Arabic countries in playing their active roles. The Security Council should take very seriously the current situation and the call of Arab states, and take urgent actions and speak with one voice, thus playing its due role. 

Madam President, 

The Palestinian question always lies at the heart of the Middle East issue. Regardless of the evolution of the international situation, the Palestinian question cannot be sidelined, let alone be forgotten. On this matter, what is lacking is not a grand and fair Plan, but rather the courage for actions. The fundamental reason for the repeated escalation is that the legitimate national rights of the Palestinian people have not been realized, and the two-state solution has not been put into practice. 

Settlements break the contiguity of occupied territories, squeeze the living space of the Palestinian people, and jeopardize the prospects of realizing a two-state solution. China urges Israel to, pursuing to Security Council Resolution 2234, stop the demolitions of Palestinian homes, stop the evictions of Palestinian people, stop the expansion of settlements, and to create conditions for the development of Palestinian communities in the West Bank. We call for early and full lifting of the embargo against Gaza, and support the work of UNRWA and the assistance to Palestine to improve its financial situation and people’s living standard.

China hopes that Palestine and Israel can continue their high-level engagement for an earlier relaunch of dialogue on an equal footing. We call on the international community to make great efforts based on relevant UN resolutions and international consensus, such as the principle of land for peace, so as to advance the Middle East peace process. The Security Council should increase its sense of urgency, and shoulder its responsibility in earnest, and work actively for a just and lasting solution to the Palestinian question. 

In conclusion, I wish to reiterate that China supports the establishment of a fully sovereign and independent state of Palestine based on the 1967 border and with East Jerusalem as its capital, supports the peaceful coexistence of Palestine and Israel and the common development of the Arab people and the Jewish people. Along with the international community, China will continue our tireless efforts toward a comprehensive and just solution to the Palestinian question. 

Thank you, Madam President.

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