|Remarks by Ambassador Zhang Jun at the UN Security Council Briefing on the Situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian Question
I wish to thank Special Coordinator Tor Wennesland for his briefing. We also noted the Special Coordinator’s March 8 statement on the security situation in the West Bank.
Just like the Special Coordinator, China is concerned about the recent deterioration of the security situation in the occupied Palestinian territory, and deeply saddened by the casualties on both the Palestinian and Israeli sides caused by the violence, especially Palestinian children. The protection of children in conflict settings is not an empty slogan, but an unshakable moral responsibility and an international obligation that must be fulfilled. We call for a thorough investigation of the recent violence and for effective accountability.
The upcoming month of April will celebrate important holidays for both Muslims and Jews. We call on all parties concerned to refrain from provocative words and deeds, to refrain from incitement to violence, to jointly uphold and respect the historic status quo of the holy sites in Jerusalem, to make every effort to prevent the situation from escalating out of control, and not to allow the conflict in Gaza last year to repeat itself.
Settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory violate international law, disrupt the contiguity of the occupied Palestinian territory, squeeze the living space of the Palestinian people, and affect the prospects for achieving the two-state solution. We are deeply concerned about the continued expansion of settlements in the occupied territory, the growing number of settlers, and increasing settler-related violence. We call on Israel to halt the expansion of settlements, stop the eviction of Palestinians, stop the demolition of Palestinian homes, and create conditions for the development of Palestinian communities in the West Bank, as called for in Council Resolution 2334.
The international community should continue to help Palestine alleviate its fiscal crisis, improve its economy and people’s livelihood, and fight the COVID-19 pandemic. We support Palestinian-Israeli coordination on economic and civilian matters, and call on Israel to lift the blockade of Gaza as soon as possible. China has always been caring about the well-being of the Palestinian people. Last month, China and Egypt jointly provided 500,000 doses of vaccine to the people of Gaza. China's donation of 200,000 doses of vaccine for Palestinian refugees has also been delivered to UNRWA in three consignments, arriving in three UNRWA fields of operation, namely Jordan, Syria and Lebanon.
The question of Palestine, in the final analysis, requires a long term settlement on the basis of the two-state solution. We hope that Palestine and Israel will maintained the positive momentum of recent high-level contacts, gradually accumulate mutual trust, and resume dialogue on an equal footing at an early date. We call on the international community to make greater efforts to advance the Middle East peace process on the basis of international consensus such as relevant UN resolutions and the principle of land for peace. The Council should heighten its sense of urgency, effectively shoulder its responsibilities, and take positive action towards a just and lasting settlement of the Palestinian-Israeli issue.
The current security situation in Europe has drawn attention from all parties, but the Palestinian-Israeli issue is equally important. The Palestinian question should not be marginalized, much less allowed pending for a long time. Recently, the Special Envoy of the Chinese Government on the Middle East Issue visited the region, and engaged extensively with relevant parties on the Palestinian question to promote the building of consensus on peace. China will continue to work with the international community to make unremitting efforts and contribute China's share to a comprehensive, just and lasting solution to the question of Palestine.
Thank you, Madam President.