|Remarks by Ambassador Zhang Jun at Security Council Briefing on Situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian Question
I wish to thank Special Coordinator Tor Wennesland for his briefing. I also wish to thank him for his unremitting efforts in addressing the question of Palestine. I also listened attentively to the statement of Ms. Comfort Ero.
The question of Palestine bears on regional peace, international justice and human conscience. It is the general expectation of the international community to promote the comprehensive, just and lasting settlement of this problem at an early date.
China has always attached great importance to the question of Palestine. Yesterday, the UN held commemorative meeting in observance of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. President Xi Jinping sent a congratulatory message for the ninth consecutive year, reiterating that China will always speak up for fairness and justice, actively promote talks for peace, continue to provide humanitarian, development and pandemic response assistance to Palestine, and support relevant UN efforts in this regard.
China is deeply concerned about the continuing tension in the occupied Palestinian territory, with frequent civilian casualties resulting from attacks, military and police operations and settler violence. Force does not bring peace and tranquility, and violence only begets more hatred. We urge all parties to remain calm and exercise restraint, refrain from measures that could lead to further escalation of the situation, avoid harming civilians, and work together to de-escalate the situation.
Settlement is one of the central issues in the final status negotiations on Palestine, which bears on the future of the two-state solution. China is concerned about Israel’s recently announced plans for more than 3,000 settlement housing units in the West Bank. To date, nearly 300 settlements have been built in the occupied Palestinian territory. Close to 700,000 settlers have moved in, disrupting the contiguity of the occupied Palestinian territory and squeezing the living space of the Palestinian people. China urges Israel to cease all settlement activities in accordance with the Council resolutions.
At present, the economic and humanitarian situation in the occupied Palestinian territory is very worrying. The international community needs to provide anti-pandemic, humanitarian and development assistance to Palestine through multiple channels and help Gaza recover and rebuild. For decades, many Palestinian civil society organizations have made significant contributions to improving the humanitarian situation in the occupied territory and upholding the legitimate rights and interests of the Palestinian people. China hopes that all parties concerned will foster an enabling environment for civil society to play an active role. China welcomes the hosting of Ministerial Conference on UNRWA by Jordan and Sweden, and looks forward to its positive role in consolidating the political and financial support of the international community to UNRWA.
It is essential to help the Palestinian National Authority to strengthen its governance capacity and empower it to exercise sovereign functions in the areas of security, finance, among other things. We appreciate the efforts of the Norway-led Ad Hoc Liaison Committee in response to the Palestinian financial crisis. We support the Palestinian factions in strengthening their unity and achieving internal reconciliation through consultations and dialogues, and welcome the significant role played by regional countries such as Egypt in that regard.
The international community should uphold an objective and just stance, advocate tolerance and mutual understanding, and take the 30th anniversary of the Madrid Peace Conference as an opportunity to push for the resumption of dialogues between Palestine and Israel on the basis of the two-state solution. The Council bears the primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security, and must take robust actions to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian question. China calls for holding an international peace conference under UN auspices, with the participation of the permanent members of the Council and all the stakeholders in the Middle East peace process. Against the current backdrop, this is even more important and urgent.
As a sincere friend of the Palestinian people and a strong supporter of peace between Palestine and Israel, China will continue to work with the international community to make positive contributions to the early settlement of the Palestinian question and the achievement of lasting peace and stability in the Middle East region.
Thank you, Mr. President.