xi's moments
Home | Middle East

China calls for restraint by Israel over tension

By MINLU ZHANG in New York | China Daily | Updated: 2021-06-26 09:28

A demonstrator holds a Palestinian flag during a protest over the death of Nizar Banat, at the compound that houses Al-Aqsa Mosque, known to Muslims as Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as Temple Mount, in Jerusalem's Old City, June 25, 2021. [Photo/Reuters]

A Chinese envoy on Thursday asked for restraint in Gaza and called on Israel to stop illegal settlement activities in occupied Palestinian territory.

"China urges all parties, Israel in particular, to exercise maximum restraint and refrain from any provocations, violence targeting civilians, or any acts that might intensify frictions," Zhang Jun, China's permanent representative to the United Nations, said at a Security Council briefing on the Middle East situation which included the Palestinian question.

"Israel must seriously uphold and respect the historic status quo of the holy sites in Jerusalem, and sincerely respect and protect the religious rights of Muslims," he said.

The Security Council issued a press statement on May 22 welcoming the announcement of a truce in Gaza. Less than a month later, the Israeli government approved the flag march in the holy city, a move that escalated tensions. It also conducted airstrikes in Gaza again.

Those acts "have cast a shadow over the already fragile cease-fire", said Zhang, adding that Israel's illegal settlement activities in the occupied territories constitutes an obstacle to peace between Palestine and Israel and to the prospect of a two-state solution.

Despite international objections, Israel has advanced its settlement plans, approving more than 540 housing units and ordering the demolition of structures housing some 50 Palestinian families.

"The settlement activities are in severe contravention to international law and are serious violations of the right to self-determination and sovereignty of the Palestinian people. As such, they constitute one of the triggers of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict in May," Zhang said.

"We urge Israel to observe Security Council Resolution 2334, immediately cease its settlement activities in the occupied territories, stop its demolition of Palestinian houses and its eviction of the Palestinian people, and effectively halt the deteriorating violence relating to settlers," he said.

Crisis worsens

Zhang said the conflict in May caused huge civilian casualties and heavily damaged Gaza's infrastructure, worsening the humanitarian crisis.

"China has provided Palestine with $1 million as emergency humanitarian assistance. We welcome the efforts by the UN, the World Bank, Egypt and other countries in the region toward rebuilding Gaza. We urge Israel to open the relevant crossings in Gaza, fully lift its blockade against Gaza as soon as possible, and facilitate access of humanitarian assistance and reconstruction supplies, rather than creating obstacles and setting preconditions," said Zhang.

He noted the protracted turmoil in the region in recent years is largely caused by the fact the Middle East peace process has been derailed, the UN resolutions have not been implemented, and Palestine's right to independent statehood has been violated repeatedly.

"The international community must take an objective and impartial stand and make vigorous efforts to relaunch the peace process. ... Countries that have significant influence in the region must take an objective and impartial stand, refrain from favoring one side over the other and practicing a double standard," said Zhang.


Global Edition
Copyright 1995 - . All rights reserved. The content (including but not limited to text, photo, multimedia information, etc) published in this site belongs to China Daily Information Co (CDIC). Without written authorization from CDIC, such content shall not be republished or used in any form. Note: Browsers with 1024*768 or higher resolution are suggested for this site.
License for publishing multimedia online 0108263

Registration Number: 130349