Chinese envoy calls for efforts to seek immediate ceasefire in Mideast

Developments over the past few days in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict have amply demonstrated that an immediate and comprehensive ceasefire must be the overriding priority.

Developments over the past few days in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict have amply demonstrated that an immediate and comprehensive ceasefire must be the overriding priority, said Zhang Jun, China's permanent representative to the United Nations, on Wednesday.

As long as the war continues, more violations of international humanitarian law are inevitable. Without a comprehensive ceasefire, any amount of humanitarian assistance will be a drop in the bucket, said Zhang at an emergency meeting of the Security Council on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The Security Council bears the primary responsibility for maintaining international peace and security. In the face of the continuous spread of conflict and the increasingly imminent humanitarian disaster, the Security Council has no reason to remain silent and no excuse to delay action further. China does not agree with the claim that the Security Council's actions will interfere with the ongoing diplomatic efforts. Although the draft resolutions proposed by Russia and Brazil have not been adopted, the Security Council cannot stop at this, said Zhang.

China expects all members of the Security Council to face up to their responsibilities under the UN Charter, respond to the expectations of the Palestinian and the Israeli peoples and the international community, move forward in unity, build consensus, and make binding decisions on the current crisis that will stand the test of history and conscience. China will continue to work with the international community to play a constructive role in pushing for a ceasefire and the cessation of hostilities, the protection of civilians, the prevention of a further humanitarian crisis, and the realization of a comprehensive, just, and lasting solution to the Palestinian issue, he said.

"If the current fight in Gaza is allowed to drag on, the end result will not be a complete military victory for any side, but rather most likely a catastrophe that will engulf the entire region, that will probably end the prospect for the two-state solution, plunging the Palestinian and Israeli peoples into a vicious cycle of hatred and confrontation," he noted.

Arab countries have issued a strong call for an immediate and comprehensive ceasefire. The international community should heed this just call and unite all diplomatic efforts toward this goal. China welcomes any initiative that is conducive to easing the humanitarian crisis and reducing the suffering of civilians, and supports all efforts aimed at de-escalating the conflict and restoring peace, he said. "We hope that all parties concerned will maintain impartiality, actively leverage their influence on the parties concerned, promote calm and restraint, and work for the cessation of hostilities as soon as possible."

Under the current circumstances, all diplomatic efforts should work to send a unified signal. First, there are no winners in this war. Violence for violence will only lead to more serious crises. Second, any violence and attacks against civilians should be rejected. Third, international humanitarian law must be followed. Fourth, the fundamental solution to the Palestinian issue lies in the implementation of the two-state solution, said Zhang.

China, together with the United Arab Emirates and Russia, requested this emergency meeting. The attack on Al-Ahli Arabi Baptist Hospital in Gaza claimed the lives of hundreds of innocent civilians. China is shocked by this heinous attack and strongly condemns it. The protection of civilians in armed conflict is a red line under international humanitarian law. Civilians and civilian facilities such as hospitals and schools should not and must not be targeted in military operations. The indiscriminate use of force is not acceptable. And the safety of humanitarian and medical workers must be guaranteed. China urges Israel to effectively fulfill its obligations under international humanitarian law, said Zhang.

Tragedies like the one at Al-Ahli Hospital are unfolding all the time in Gaza. As a result of the total siege imposed by Israel, the supply of water, electricity, and fuel has been cut off. Basic supplies such as food and medicine are dwindling and urgently needed. Tens of thousands of people have been forced to move south because of the emergency evacuation order issued by Israel, only to suffer from airstrikes in the south as well, he noted.

Under the current circumstances, there is no time to lose in protecting civilians, carrying out humanitarian relief, and preventing a humanitarian crisis. China calls on Israel to lift the full blockade on Gaza, retrieve the emergency evacuation order, and stop the airstrikes around the Rafah border crossing. China welcomes the international community's efforts to open a humanitarian corridor and hopes substantive progress can be made in relevant communications and arrangements as soon as possible. China appreciates the important role played by Egypt and other regional countries, said Zhang.

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