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Remarks by Ambassador Geng Shuang at Security Council Briefing on Situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian Question

2021/08/30

Thank you, Mr. President,

I thank Special Coordinator Wennesland for his briefing.

Tensions in the occupied Palestinian territories have escalated recently, casting a shadow over the ceasefire reached three months ago. The Israeli security forces have clashed with Palestinian demonstrators along the Gaza perimeter on multiple occasions, causing many casualties, including dozens of children. Moreover, an arrest operation carried out by the Israeli security forces in the West Bank resulted in the death of several young Palestinians. Special Coordinator Wennesland has called for an investigation.

China is deeply concerned about those developments and urges all parties, especially Israel, to exercise maximum restraint, avoid any violence against civilians and refrain from any actions that may heighten tensions. We call on Israel to earnestly abide by relevant UN resolutions, halt settlement activities in the West Bank and cease demolition of Palestinian homes and eviction of Palestinians.

Mr. President,

The double shock of conflict and COVID-19 has exacerbated the humanitarian crisis in the occupied Palestinian territories. The international community should act urgently to provide Palestine with humanitarian and COVID response assistance through multiple channels and continue to support the work of UNRWA. China welcomes Qatar's assistance to the people of Gaza in cooperation with the UN. We urge Israel to open relevant crossings, lift the blockade and siege on Gaza as soon as possible, and provide access for humanitarian assistance and reconstruction materials rather than setting up obstacles.

China has been following closely the humanitarian situation in Palestine, and provided concrete support to the Palestinian people's fight against the pandemic. In March this year, the Chinese government donated 100,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine to Palestine, and will donate another 1 million doses in the near future. In addition, China will partner with Egypt to provide the Palestinians in Gaza with 500,000 doses of COVID vaccine supply from the Egypt-based vaccine filling facility jointly built by the two countries. We will also provide 200,000 doses of COVID vaccine to UNRWA.

Mr. President,

The frequent conflicts between Palestine and Israel are largely due to the fact that the Middle East peace process has deviated from the right track, that relevant UN resolutions have not been effectively implemented, and Palestine’s right to statehood has been repeatedly violated. This proves once again that a lasting settlement of the Palestine-Israel question lies in the two-state solution.

During a visit to the Middle East last month, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi put forward three ideas on materializing the two-state solution with a view to breaking the current impasse and translating the consensus on the two-state solution into concrete actions. China calls for enhancing the authority of the Palestinian National Authority, supporting intra-Palestinian unity and reconciliation, and encouraging Palestine and Israel to resume peace talks based on the two-state solution. Palestinian and Israeli negotiators are welcome to conduct direct talks in China. China also calls for the holding of a UN-led international peace conference that brings together the permanent members of the UN Security Council and all stakeholders in the Middle East peace process.

As a sincere friend of the Palestinian people, China supports Palestine’s just cause to restore its national rights and the establishment of a fully sovereign and independent State of Palestine on the basis of the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital. We will continue to work with the international community to preserve peace and justice, uphold fairness and conscience, practice true multilateralism, and promote a comprehensive, reasonable and just settlement of the Palestinian question, as well as the early realization of lasting peace in Palestine, Israel and the wider region.

Thank you, Mr. President.

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