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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

2023-11-22 18:20

Dear Colleagues, 

I thank Executive Director Sima Sami Bahous, Executive Director Catherine Russell, and Executive Director Natalia Kanem for their briefings. 

The Palestinian-Israeli situation has been the source of concern for the whole world. China has always been making unremitting efforts to restore peace. On November 21, BRICS held its first summit since its expansion. During the meeting, President Xi Jinping elaborated comprehensively on China's position and proposal on ending hostilities and achieving and ceasefire as well as realizing durable peace and security, thus speaking up for justice and for peace and pointing the way to ease the current situation and seek a fundamental settlement. Leaders in the meeting jointly called for the international community to support a just solution to the question of Palestine and facilitate the realization of the two-State solution. On November 20, the delegation of Arab and Islamic foreign ministers visited Beijing and conducted in-depth exchanges and coordination with China on promoting deescalation of the current conflict, protection of civilians, and a just solution to the question of Palestine. Chinese leaders and the visiting foreign ministers agreed that the international community should take immediate and responsible actions to prevent the spillover the crisis, resume the peace talk process, and realize lasting peace and security in the Middle East. 

The briefings by the three briefers that we just heard further highlighted the gravity of the situation in Gaza and the urgency of saving lives. After the announcement by Israel of the evacuation order, 80% of the population in Gaza have been forced to flee their homes. The medical system in Gaza under blockade and siege has seen a complete collapse. Out of 24 hospitals in the north, 22 have already shut down. The Al-Shifa Hospital has been called by the WHO a death zone. From UN-run schools to the Indonesian hospital in Gaza, from the Jabalia refugee camp in the north to the Khan Yunes camp in the south, civilian facilities have been targeted frequently and there is nowhere for the children in Gaza to run. In the past 46 days, over 5,000 children have been killed. All these should not continue to happen, and must not be allowed to continue to happen. 

We must step up efforts to promote an immediate end to hostilities and realization of a ceasefire. Council Resolution 2712 is the initial step for promoting a ceasefire and easing the situation and is of great significance. It must be implemented immediately and fully, so as to achieve a lasting ceasefire and avoid a bigger humanitarian catastrophe. Israel must stop any military operations against hospitals, schools, and other civilian facilities, and contain the intensifying settler violence in the West Bank. We welcome the active mediation by Qatar and Egypt, among others, to facilitate the release of part of the people held captive. We support further diplomatic efforts so that more people held captive can be released at an early date. We hope this will create political space for dialogue and negotiation and the restoration of peace. 

We must step up efforts to protect civilians. We strongly condemn actions in Gaza that clearly violate international humanitarian law. We oppose any collective punishment of civilians in Gaza and oppose forced displacement and forced transfer. We urge Israel to lift its siege of Gaza as soon as possible and fully restore the supply of essential materials such as water, electricity, and fuel. We call for emergent opening of more relief channels that lead to Gaza and fully utilize crossing points, including Kerem Shalom, to ensure that sufficient humanitarian materials can enter Gaza from all directions in an unimpeded and highly efficient manner. China supports further actions by the Council in this regard based on Resolution 2712. 

We must step up efforts to promote the revitalization of the political prospect of a two-State solution. Any solution to the current situation should not deviate from the two-State solution and should be conducive to regional peace and stability. Any arrangement concerning the future of Palestine must be based on the consent of the Palestinian people and accommodate the legitimate concerns of regional countries. The UN should continue to play an active role in consolidating international consensus and facilitating the peace process. The Council should be ready to take responsible and meaningful actions on the Palestinian-Israeli situation that can stand the test of history and conscience.

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