Published: 09:33, November 8, 2023 | Updated: 16:35, November 8, 2023
Gaza conflict: China calls for immediate cessation of hostilities
By Xinhua

Geng Shuang, China's deputy permanent representative to the United Nations, speaks at a UN Security Council meeting at the UN headquarters in New York, on March 14, 2023. (PHOTO / XINHUA)

UNITED NATIONS -- China on Tuesday called on the parties to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to immediately cease hostilities.

Since the outbreak of the new round of conflict, Palestinians in Gaza have languished amid indiscriminate bombardment. They are not spared even in hospitals, schools, refugee camps, and UN facilities. In UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres' words, the people in Gaza face an avalanche of human suffering, said Geng Shuang, China's deputy permanent representative to the United Nations.

As the secretary-general has said, the situation today did not happen in a vacuum. The fact behind the conflict in Gaza is that the Palestinian living space has been squeezed to the limit by more than half a century of Israeli occupation, said Geng

It must be made clear, once again, that all violence and attacks against civilians should be condemned, and any violation of international law rejected. The indiscriminate use of force is unacceptable. Civilian facilities, such as hospitals, schools and refugee camps, should not, and must not become military operation targets. The safety of UN staff and humanitarian and medical workers must be guaranteed, he told a plenary meeting of the Fourth Committee of the UN General Assembly on Israeli practices and settlement activities in occupied territories.

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"China calls on the parties to the conflict to respond to the international community's overwhelming call for a cease-fire, immediately cease hostilities, disengage, and make every effort to prevent further escalation," he said. "We call on Israel, as the occupying power, to fulfill its obligations under international law, expeditiously restore the basic subsistence supplies to Gaza, secure local communications, ensure unobstructed delivery of humanitarian aid, and stop its collective punishment of the people of Gaza."

China firmly rejects the forced displacement and the forcible relocation of the Palestinian population, and calls for the immediate lifting of the evacuation order for northern Gaza, he added.

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As the secretary-general has said, the situation today did not happen in a vacuum. The fact behind the conflict in Gaza is that the Palestinian living space has been squeezed to the limit by more than half a century of Israeli occupation, said Geng.

The continued expansion of settlement activities, which encroaches on Palestinian land, appropriates Palestinian resources, and violates the Palestinians' right to self-determination, has made an independent, sovereign and contiguous Palestinian state even more elusive. The escalating violence, the deteriorating humanitarian situation, and the spreading despair are a constant reminder that the status quo in the occupied Palestinian territory is unsustainable, he said.

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Israel must stop violating Security Council Resolution 2334, cease all settlement activities, stop expelling Palestinians, stop the intensifying settler violence, and return to the right track of the two-state solution as soon as possible, he said.

The international community must face up to the root causes of the problem and must no longer use piecemeal crisis management in place of a comprehensive and just solution, or offset political and security deficits with limited economic and humanitarian measures, he said.

China calls on the United Nations and the Security Council to take responsible and meaningful action to support the Palestinian people in the restoration and exercise of their inalienable rights. As president of the Security Council for November, China will continue to maintain close communication with all parties concerned, play a constructive role in promoting the cessation of hostilities, protecting civilians, and averting a greater humanitarian catastrophe, so as to make unremitting efforts toward a comprehensive, just and lasting solution to the Palestinian question, he said.