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Statement by Ambassador Zhang Jun at Security Council Open Debate on the Middle East

2020/01/21

Mr. President,

I thank Under-Secretary-General DiCarlo and Assistant-Secretary-General Muller for their briefings.

The question of Palestine has been dragging on for more than 70 years. It is at the root of the turbulence in the Middle East. It is also a wound in the conscience of humanity. At present, the Gaza Strip is gripped by endless conflicts and confrontation. There have been frequent violent acts and inflammatory rhetoric by relevant parties. Settlement building and demolition of Palestinian houses have advanced with both the scope and scale expanded. The occupied Palestinian territory is in a grim humanitarian crisis and the Middle East peace process is off the right track. China is deeply worried about all these. Without a just and reasonable solution to the Palestinian question, there will be no lasting peace and security in the Middle East.

We should continue to adhere to the overall goal of the "two-state solution". The "two-state solution" is the only correct way to solve the Palestinian-Israeli issue. Independent statehood is an inalienable national right of the Palestinian people, a right that cannot be traded away. The international community, especially parties with significant influence in the Middle East, should make joint efforts and on the basis of the "Arab Peace Initiative", the "Land for Peace" principle and relevant Security Council resolutions, encourage Israel and Palestine to resolve conflicts through negotiation on an equal footing. Security Council resolution 2334 clearly states that settlement building in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, is in violation of international law. The relevant party should earnestly implement resolution 2334, immediately cease all settlement activities in the occupied territories, stop the demolition of Palestinian houses and destruction of their property, and prevent violence against civilians.

We should continue to promote dialogue, negotiation and political consultation The Palestinian issue can only be resolved politically. Countering violence with violence or threat of force will lead nowhere. China encourages relevant parties to meet each other halfway, stop taking military actions, cease making incendiary rhetoric, refrain from taking unilateral measures that undermine trust, avoid escalation of the regional tensions, earnestly safeguard the foundation of the Middle East peace process and create favorable conditions for the resumption of dialogue. Earlier this month, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi visited Egypt and exchanged views with Egyptian leadership and foreign minister on international affairs, including the Middle East and Palestinian issues. He also met with Mr. Gheit, Secretary General of the League of Arab States. State Councilor Wang Yi said that China has been and will always be a builder of peace, a promoter of stability and a contributor to the development in the Middle East.

We should pay close attention to and help improve the Palestinian economic and humanitarian situations. China is worried about the recent announcement by the relevant party of another deduction from the tax revenues collected on behalf of Palestine. We call on the relevant party to earnestly fulfill their obligations under the Paris Protocol and other relevant international treaties, fully implement relevant UN resolutions and completely lift the blockade of Gaza as soon as possible to create conditions for improving the economic and humanitarian situations in the occupied Palestinian territory. China welcomes the UN General Assembly's adoption, by an overwhelming majority, of a resolution to renew the mandate of the UNRWA. The international community should continue to increase its political and financial support to the Agency and provide concrete assistance to Palestine refugees and hosting countries. The international community should also increase its inputs to boost Palestinian economic reconstruction and take an integrated approach to promote peace through development.

As State Councilor Wang Yi said in an interview with the Egyptian press, China will continue to stand up for justice and speak out at various international fora. China will continue to support unswervingly the just cause of the Palestinian people to strive for the restoration of their legitimate national rights and the establishment of a fully sovereign and independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital on the basis of the 1967 borders.

Thank you, Mr. President.

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