|Remarks by Ambassador Geng Shuang at the UN Security Council Briefing on the Situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian Question|
I thank Deputy Special Coordinator Lynn Hastings for her breathing, and welcome the representatives of Palestine and Israel to the to the meeting.
At present, the Middle East peace process is still at a standstill. Relevant UN resolutions have not been implemented for a long time, and the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people have been continuously violated, and their predicament has been further exacerbated. China is deeply concerned about this. The question of Palestine is the core of the Middle East issue that bears on regional peace and security. It should not be marginalized, much less forgotten. The international community should fully recognize the severity of the situation, and take concrete actions without delay to bring the settlement of the Palestinian issue back on the right track in an early date.
First, reversing the situation on the ground brooks no delay. Israel continues to expand its settlement activities in the occupied territories, with more than 300 settlements having been built so far and more than 700,000 settlers having moved in, thus continuing to squeeze the living space of Palestinian people and undermining the continuity of the OPT and the prospect of an independent and sovereign Palestinian state. We urge Israel to abide by international law, implement Security Council Resolution 2334, and immediately stop all settlement activities.
Second, achieving common security brooks no delay. Since the beginning of this year, violent incidents have occurred one after another in occupied territories. It is disturbing that clashes happened in Gaza. According to the figures released by OCHA, 63 Palestinians have been killed and more than 6,000 injures in operations by Israeli security forces this year. The Secretary-General’s report on children and armed conflict noted that last year, Israeli security forces killed 78 Palestinian children and maimed 982. Attacks against Israeli civilians also occur from time to time, leading to casualties.
The security of Israel and Palestine is interdependent and indivisible. The two sides should uphold the common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security concept, and find a way to live side by side in peace. Seeking absolute security by using one’s advantageous position can only lead to greater security dilemma. The international community should attach equal importance to the security concerns of Palestine and Israel. As the occupying power, Israel should fulfill its obligation under international humanitarian law by safeguarding the safety of civilians in the occupied territories. We once again urge Israel to thoroughly investigate the killing of the female journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, and the findings should stand the test of time, in order to ensure accountability.
Third, advancing the two-state solution brooks no delay. The question of Palestine has dragged on for more than 70 years. Piecemeal crisis management is no substitute for a comprehensive and impartial solution. The international community should work earnestly to promote the Middle East peace process. Countries that have influence on Palestine and Israel should shoulder the due responsibilities, uphold an objective and impartial position, and play the due role in promoting the early resumption of peace talks between the two sides.
The Council should take more active and vigorous actions on the Palestinian issue, and work with the Arab League and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation to bring about broader and more effective efforts to promote peace. China calls for a larger, more authoritative, and more influential international peace conference, in which permanent members of the Council and all stakeholders in the Middle East process are invited to participate in exploring effective ways and means to politically resolve the Palestinian issue.
The Middle East is an ancient land that gave birth to splendid civilizations. The people of the Middle East have lived on this land for generations and are the true masters. There has never been a so-called vacuum in the Middle East, and there has never been a need for external countries to play a so-called leading role. Since contemporary times, colonialism and foreign interference have brought untold sufferings to the countries and people, and the negative effects have not been completely eliminated. At present, what the Middle East needs most is peace and security, and what the people of the Middle East desire most is development and progress. The international community should help countries in the region seek peace through unity and development through cooperation, instead of stoking bloc confrontation or geopolitical rivalry, which will only further destabilize the region.
As a strategic partner of Middle East countries, China has always supported them in resolving regional security issues through solidarity and cooperation, and supported the people in the Middle East in independently exploring their own development paths. We have been working with countries in the region to fight the pandemic, move forward the Belt and Road Initiative, and actively help with the development of the Middle East. China is ready to further contribute to the achievement of peace and development in the region.
In conclusion, I would like to reiterate that China supports the establishment of a fully sovereign and independent Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders and with East Jerusalem as its capital, and supports the peaceful coexistence of Palestine and Israel, and the common development of the Arab and Jewish peoples. China will continue to work tirelessly with the international community towards a comprehensive and just solution of the Palestinian issue.
Thank you, Mr. President.