New York, The Gulf Observer: Zhang Jun, China’s permanent representative to the United Nations, on Tuesday called for a comprehensive ceasefire between Palestine and Israel.
“A ceasefire must be achieved without delay. This is the call made by Secretary-General (Antonio) Guterres,” and this is the call of the international community, said the envoy at the UN Security Council briefing on the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question.
“In light of the overwhelming calls of the international community, the council must use clear and unequivocal language to demand an immediate ceasefire,” he said.
“It must be pointed out that allowing the fighting in Gaza to drag on and escalate for whatever justification will not result in a complete military victory for either side, but will most likely result in a catastrophe that will engulf the entire region, completely dash the prospects for a two-state solution, and plunge the Palestinian and Israeli peoples into a perpetual vicious cycle of hatred and confrontation,” he said.
Zhang noted that Gaza has been completely without electricity for 15 consecutive days, water and fuel supplies have been cut off, and basic necessities such as food and medicine are about to run out.
“The council should demand, in the clearest possible terms, that the occupying power immediately lift the full siege on Gaza, restore the supply of water, electricity, and fuel, and cease the collective punishment of the people in Gaza,” said the envoy.
“We urge Israel to create conditions conducive to the normal functioning of the Rafah crossing, to stop air strikes against its surrounding areas, and to ensure unimpeded channel of aid. China has provided emergency humanitarian aid through the Palestinian National Authority and United Nations agencies respectively, and will continue to provide in-kind assistance based on the needs of the people in Gaza.”
On the humanitarian issue, Zhang said the civilian casualties resulting from the latest round of conflict are appalling, and that “life and conscience seem so pale in the face of frequent indiscriminate attacks.”
“The council must resolutely defend the international rule of law, unequivocally condemn all violence and attacks against civilians, and unequivocally oppose any violation of international law. China calls for diplomatic efforts for the immediate release of hostages,” he said.
Zhang underscored that the root cause of the conflict lies in the prolonged illegal occupation of Palestinian territories, the long-standing neglect of the Palestinian people’s right to independent statehood, and the lack of effective protection for their basic rights.
“The fundamental approach to addressing the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is the implementation of the two-state solution and the realization of peaceful coexistence between Palestine and Israel,” he said.
Zhang said that China has been working tirelessly to promote the cessation of hostilities and the restoration of peace.
“We have been maintaining close communication with the parties concerned and playing a responsible and constructive role in realizing a ceasefire, protecting civilians, and averting a greater humanitarian catastrophe. China has no self-interest on the question of Palestine. Any initiative that contributes to peace will receive China’s staunch support,” he said.
“Any endeavor that facilitates Palestinian-Israeli reconciliation will be pursued by China with all-out efforts,” he said.