Envoy: Military means not solution in Gaza

2023-10-31 10:48:03China Daily Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download

China's top envoy to the United Nations on Monday urged all parties of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to cease the hostilities, lift Gaza's full siege, restore supplies, release detainees and promote diplomatic dialogue for a political resolution.

"The decades-long history of the Palestinian-Israeli issue has taught us that military means is not the solution," Zhang Jun, China's permanent representative to the United Nations, said at an emergency meeting of the Security Council on the humanitarian crisis in Gaza called by the United Arab Emirates and China on Monday.

"Absolute security cannot be achieved by imposing collective punishment on civilians, and violence for violence will only exacerbate hatred and confrontation," said Zhang.

"We call on the parties to the conflict to abandon their blind faith in the use of force and to commit themselves to breaking the cycle of violence and achieving common security," he said.

He called on the parties to the conflict to cease all hostilities, disengage immediately, put in place a humanitarian truce, and make every effort to prevent the situation from escalating further.

"China solemnly calls on Israel as the occupying power to fulfill its obligations under international humanitarian law, lift its full siege on Gaza, immediately rescind its emergency evacuation order and expeditiously restore the supply of basic necessities so as to prevent an even larger humanitarian disaster," Zhang said.

"China solemnly calls for greater diplomatic efforts to facilitate the release of hostages without delay and to work on this basis to open up space for dialogue, so as to return to the track of a political settlement," he said.

"China solemnly calls on a certain major country with special influence on the parties concerned to put aside its self-interests and geopolitical considerations and make every effort to stop the war and restore peace," he continued.

The UN General Assembly on Friday passed a resolution calling for an "immediate, durable and sustained humanitarian truce" in Gaza. The resolution was adopted with 120 votes in favor, 14 votes against, and 45 abstentions.

The resolution also calls for protection of civilians and civilian subjects, protection of humanitarian personnel and facilities, and "immediate and unconditional release" of all civilians being illegally held captive.

"This reflected the widespread call on the part of the international community," said Zhang.

"Regrettably and unacceptably, however, Israel, turning a deaf ear to the common concerns of the international community, has chosen to further escalate its military operations in Gaza and formally declared the launch of a ground assault," he said.

"There will be no firewall in Gaza," said Zhang. "It is a dangerous myth to think that a contained war is possible there. Allowing the fighting in Gaza to continue could very well turn it into a military catastrophe that will engulf the entire region.

"The situation in the West Bank and along the Lebanese-Israeli border has already sounded the alarm. We call on all parties who are concerned about the spillover of the conflict to devote their efforts towards promoting a cease-fire in Gaza," he said.

"As long as the war rages on, more violations of international humanitarian law are bound to happen. Without a comprehensive cease-fire, humanitarian assistance, no matter how much there is, will only be a drop in the ocean," said Zhang. "What they need is concrete actions to restore peace, uphold the rule of law, and save lives."

Israeli troops continued expanding operations in Gaza on Monday as the death toll of Palestinians on the Gaza Strip has risen to 8,306, including 3,457 children and 2,136 women, according to the Hamas-run Health Ministry.

Israel's attacks were in response to a major Hamas assault on Oct 7, resulting in the deaths of at least 1,400 people in Israel so far. The Israel Defense Forces reported that 239 hostages, primarily civilians, were taken during the Hamas attack.

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