Chinese envoy stresses ceasefire as top priority in Gaza

December 20, 2023
Updated 2023/12/20 at 6:02 PM
5 Min Read

UNITED NATIONS, Dec. 19 (Xinhua) — A Chinese UN envoy said on Tuesday that achieving a ceasefire in Gaza is currently the most critical priority.

“First, the realization of a ceasefire remains the overriding prerequisite. Only a ceasefire can prevent greater civilian casualties, including those of hostages. Only a ceasefire can prevent the regional conflict from spiraling out of control. And only a ceasefire can prevent the prospects of a political solution from being completely killed,” China’s permanent representative to the United Nations, Zhang Jun, told the Security Council briefing on the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question.

The international community, he said, has repeatedly and overwhelmingly called for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza. “Yet Israel continues its bombing and shelling. Schools, hospitals, mosques, Christian churches, and refugee camps have been repeatedly targeted in military operations.”

“There can be no justification for such attacks. It must be pointed out that causing more civilian casualties in Gaza will not hold the solution for rescuing the hostages, nor will that lead to greater security for any party,” the envoy said.

“We urge Israel to immediately reverse its course of action and stop its indiscriminate military attacks and collective punishment against the people of Gaza,” he said.

On the West Bank, Zhang said that every effort must be made to prevent the West Bank situation from getting out of control.

“While the eyes of the international community are focused on Gaza, violence committed by the Israeli army and settlers in the West Bank has intensified. Searches, arrests, and attacks against Palestinians happen on a daily basis with appalling frequency and intensity, and have resulted in a large number of Palestinian casualties,” said the envoy.

He said that settlement activities violate international law and Security Council Resolution 2334 and continue to erode the foundation of the two-state solution.

“We urge Israel, as the occupying power, to comply with its obligations under international law, cease all settlement activities, and effectively curb settler violence, so as to put an end to impunity,” Zhang said.

On the two-state solution, Zhang said that this approach must be revitalized with maximum political determination.

“The two-state solution is the only way out for resolving the Israeli-Palestinian issue. It is also the broad consensus of the international community.”

“The main reason the Israeli-Palestinian issue has long failed to be resolved is precisely because the two-state solution has not been implemented,” he said.

“We are extremely concerned about the recent public rejection of the two-state solution by some politicians. China calls for greater international and regional diplomatic efforts to reaffirm the commitment to the two-state solution, revitalize the political prospects of the two-state solution, and restart direct negotiations between Palestine and Israel,” said the ambassador.

“Undoubtedly, any solution to the question of Palestine should respect the will of the Palestinian people and the legitimate concerns of the countries of the region, and should not deviate from the basic direction of the two-state solution,” he said.

“China calls for the convening of an international peace conference that is larger in scale, scope, and effects and for the formulation of a timetable and a roadmap so that the two-state solution can truly be realized,” Zhang noted.

Speaking about the new Security Council draft resolution aimed at removing bottlenecks to humanitarian access and alleviating the humanitarian disaster in Gaza, Zhang said, “We believe that no country should be hesitant, out of any reason, regarding this draft resolution. We urge relevant council members to take a constructive approach and support the council in taking meaningful, life-saving, and immediate actions.”

“Facing the prolonged Gaza conflict and the escalations in the West Bank, the council must further play its due role and take actions for realizing a ceasefire and ending the fighting at an early date, for restoring regional peace, and for upholding fairness and justice,” the ambassador said.

Share this Article