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Wang Yi Holds United Nations Security Council Open Debate on Palestine-Israel Conflict

On May 16, 2021, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi held the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Open Debate on Palestine-Israel conflict via video link. Foreign ministers of Palestine, Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia, Norway, Ireland and Algeria, deputy foreign minister of Russia, representative of the League of Arab States, permanent representatives to the UN from Israel, the United States, Estonia, Vietnam, Mexico, Kenya, the United Kingdom, India, Niger, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and France attended the meeting. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Tor Wennesland briefed the meeting.

Wang Yi said that the escalating conflict between Israel and Palestine had resulted in a large number of casualties, including women and children. The situation is extremely critical and severe, and a ceasefire and cessation of violence is urgently needed. The international community must move forward with urgency to prevent the situation from further deteriorating, to prevent the region from falling again into turmoil, and to protect the lives of local people.

Wang Yi pointed out that the Palestinian question has always been the core of the Middle East issue. An unstable Middle East will make the world insecure. Only when the Palestinian question is resolved comprehensively, fairly and permanently, can the Middle East truly achieve lasting peace and universal security. In response to the current tense situation, China put forward a four-point proposition:

First, ceasefire and cessation of violence is the top priority. China strongly condemns violent acts against civilians, and once again urges the two sides to immediately stop military and hostile actions, and stop actions that deteriorate the situation, including airstrikes, ground offensives, and rocket launches. Israel must exercise restraint in particular.

Second, humanitarian assistance is an urgent need. We urge Israel to earnestly fulfill its obligations under international treaties, lift all the blockade and siege of Gaza as soon as possible, guarantee the safety and rights of civilians in the occupied Palestinian territory, and provide access for humanitarian assistance. The international community must provide humanitarian assistance to Palestine, and the UN must play a coordinating role to avoid serious humanitarian disasters.

Third, international support is an obligation. The UNSC must take vigorous action on the Palestine-Israel conflict, reiterate its firm support for a "two-state solution", and push the situation to cool down at an early date. The UNSC has failed to make a unanimous voice due to the obstruction of one certain country. China calls on the United States to shoulder its due responsibilities, adopt a fair stand, and support the UNSC in playing its due role in easing the situation, rebuilding trust, and advancing a political settlement. We also support the UN, the League of Arab States, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and other countries that have an important influence on the region to play a more active role and make more extensive and effective peace promotion efforts.

Fourth, a "two-state solution" is the fundamental way out. In the final analysis, a long-term solution to the Palestinian-Israeli issue should be sought on the basis of the "two-state solution". Justice is late, but it cannot be absent forever. China supports the two sides in resuming peace talks based on a "two-state solution" as soon as possible, to establish an independent State of Palestine that enjoys full sovereignty with East Jerusalem as its capital and based on the 1967 border, and fundamentally realize the peaceful coexistence of Palestine and Israel, realize the harmonious coexistence of the Arab and Jewish nations, and realize lasting peace in the Middle East.

Wang Yi stressed that China is a sincere friend of the Palestinian people. Under the current circumstances, China's "Four-point Proposal" on the settlement of the Palestinian question put forward by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2017 is of greater practical significance. Since China assumed the rotating presidency of the UNSC, it has made responding to the current tensions in the Middle East a top priority and pushed the UNSC to deliberate on the Palestinian question many times. We will continue to intensify efforts to promote peace talks, and fulfill our duties as the rotating presidency of the UNSC. We reiterate the invitation to peacemakers from Palestine and Israel to hold dialogue in China, and welcome negotiators from the two countries to hold direct talks in China.

Wang Yi concluded that people around the world are watching and history is recording whether the UN and the UN Security Council can make a difference. We should and must unite to stand on the side of peace and justice, on the side of fairness and conscience, and on the right side of history, and practice the real multilateralism to push for the comprehensive, fair and permanent settlement of the Palestinian question at an early date.

The attendees appreciated China for chairing the emergency open debate, and called for an immediate ceasefire and cessation of violence between Israel and Palestine, as well as cooling down of the situation while abiding by relevant UNSC resolutions and international laws. They hold the view that the UNSC members and the international community should speak with one voice to fairly promote the Palestine-Israel peace talks and the realization of peaceful coexistence between Palestine and Israel.

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