Cease-fire urged amid escalating conflict between Palestine, Israel

2023-10-09 Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download

China and the international community have called for an end to the escalating Israel-Palestine conflict, which left more than 500 people dead and thousands injured since Saturday.

As gun battles raged on Sunday between Israeli forces and Hamas militants a day after the Islamist group launched a surprise attack on Israel from Gaza, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that his country was "in a state of war". He vowed to reduce to "rubble" Hamas hideouts in Gaza.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas held an emergency meeting attended by senior officials, where he emphasized the right of the Palestinian people to defend themselves against the "terror of settlers and occupation troops", Palestinian news agency WAFA reported.

China said on Sunday that it is "deeply concerned" over the current escalation of violence between Palestine and Israel, and called on relevant parties to remain calm, exercise restraint and immediately end the hostilities to protect civilians.

The fundamental way out of the conflict lies in implementing the two-state solution and establishing an independent state of Palestine, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.

It called on the international community to act with greater urgency, step up input into the Palestine question, facilitate the early resumption of peace talks between Palestine and Israel, and find a way to bring about enduring peace.

The Arab League and Middle East countries, including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Qatar, Iraq and Kuwait, have expressed their sympathies over the casualties and called for an immediate cease-fire. They were joined by Indonesia, Turkiye, Russia and Colombia, among others. The United States, some European countries and India backed Israel.

Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul-Gheit slammed Israel's violent policies against the Palestinians as "a time bomb," calling for an immediate cease-fire in the Gaza Strip.

Analysts said that sustainable peace cannot be realized unless an independent state of Palestine is established, as Israeli and Palestinian rights will otherwise continue to be ignored.

Ayman Yousef, a professor of international relations at Arab American University, said the many factors that triggered this sudden escalation of tensions in Gaza include Israel's "daily killing of Palestinians in the West Bank", Israeli settlement activities in occupied territories and Israeli settlers entering the holy mosque in Jerusalem on an almost daily basis.

Dina Yulianti Sulaeman, director of the Indonesia Center for Middle East Studies, said the complete context of the violence should be examined when not only Hamas, but also other rebel groups were joining these attacks.

"International law gives the Palestinian people the right to resist. As long as the fundamental rights of the Palestinians, including independence, are not fulfilled, they will continue to fight," Sulaeman said.

Israeli military confirmed that Palestinian militants had launched nearly 3,000 rockets against Israel, and dozens of militants had infiltrated southern Israel, according to Xinhua News Agency.

Hamas claimed to have captured a number of Israeli officers and soldiers, and that they were being held in "safe places".

The Palestinian Health Ministry in Gaza reported at least 313 dead and nearly 2,000 wounded in the recent spate of Israeli strikes, while Israel's military said at least 26 soldiers have died in the Hamas attack, according to Al-Jazeera TV. Local media have reported over 250 Israeli casualties.

Muslim Imran, director of the Asia Middle East Center for Research and Dialogue, pointed out Israel's "big failure of embarrassing proportions" and said "the moral impact on the Palestinian spirit to fight Israel will be huge".

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