China calls for ceasefire in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict

2023-10-14 13:38:36China Daily Editor : Mo Honge ECNS App Download

China's top envoy to the United Nations called on Friday for all efforts to be made to promote a ceasefire in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict as soon as possible to prevent the occurrence of a more serious humanitarian disaster.

"China condemns all violence and attacks against civilians and opposes all practices that violate international law," Zhang Jun, China's permanent representative of China to the UN, said at a closed Security Council consultations on "The situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question" on Friday.

"China reiterates its call on all parties to exercise maximum restraint and support all efforts to realize a ceasefire as soon as possible so as to prevent further escalation of tensions and spillover of the flames of war, which would have a greater impact on regional and international security," said Zhang, as he elaborated on the position of China on the current situation in Palestine and Israel.

Zhang said the protection of civilians in armed conflict is a red line under international humanitarian law. "The indiscriminate use of force is unacceptable, and neither Palestinian nor Israeli civilians should be targeted. The safety of United Nations staff and humanitarian workers must be guaranteed," he emphasized.

Eleven UN staff members and personnel who worked at the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East have been killed since Oct 7 in the Gaza Strip, according to the UN.

"China was gravely concerned about the consequences of Israel's imposition of a ‘total blockade' on the Gaza Strip and its ordering of an emergency evacuation of the population of northern Gaza," Zhang said.

Zhang called on Israel to "listen carefully to the appeals of the international community and the secretary-general of the United Nations, to stop the collective punishment of the people of Gaza and to avoid artificially exacerbating the humanitarian catastrophe".

Zhang said China supports active discussions on the opening of a humanitarian corridor in Gaza and the conclusion of feasible arrangements as soon as possible, and appreciates the efforts being made by Egypt and other countries concerned.

"China supports diplomatic mediation to ensure the personal safety and humanitarian needs of the detainees and their early release and safe return home," said the envoy.

Zhang pointed out that military means is "not the way out to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict", and "responding to violence with violence will only lead to an endless vicious cycle".

"The fundamental way out lies in the resumption of genuine peace talks as soon as possible, the realization of the legitimate rights of the Palestinians, and the peaceful coexistence of two states, Palestine and Israel," said Zhang.

"While managing the crisis, the international community must adhere to the fundamental direction of the two-state solution, promote the building of a broader consensus and establish a timetable and road map to that end," he said.

Zhang emphasized that the United Nations has the responsibility to play its due role, and the Security Council must demonstrate its commitment by forging a consensus as soon as possible to promote a ceasefire to end the fighting and prevent a humanitarian disaster, and by making a strong voice and taking practical initiatives.

The good thing is that there is an emerging consensus on our understanding of the seriousness of the humanitarian situation, Zhang told reporters at the Security Council media stakeout after the closed meeting on Friday.

There is an emerging voice within the council advocating for action to address the humanitarian aspects and to prevent any further deterioration or a humanitarian disaster, he said.

"China strongly believes that the Security Council should exercise its responsibilities and have a strong voice on this alarming situation, and also take meaningful actions," said Zhang.

Over 3,000 people have been killed on both sides as Israel escalated its airstrikes on Gaza and enforced a complete blockade on the Palestinian enclave, according to CGTN.

Israel's army on Friday ordered 1.1 million residents of Gaza City and in the north of the Gaza Strip to evacuate to the southern area of the coastal enclave ahead of a possible Israeli ground offensive.


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