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Gaza: A vicious cycle of despair looking for solution

By Cui Haipei and Pan Jie | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2024-04-10 16:32

Muslims worldwide celebrated the holiday of Eid al-Fitr on Wednesday. A joyous day to be sure, with the end of the fasting month of Ramadan. However, those who live in the Gaza Strip — surrounded by the rubble of bombed out buildings and wondering where their next meal would come from — had little to celebrate.

Day and night over the past six months, wailing and tears have been the lot of Gazans young and old. Indeed that wailing and those tears have been heard and seen around the world.

The numbers are stark enough. The conflict broke out after Hamas undertook a surprise attack on Israel on Oct 7 that resulted in the deaths of 1,170 people. Israel's relentless, remorseless retaliation has killed at least 33,360 people in Gaza, mostly women and children.

The carnage is there for all to see in the southern city of Khan Younis, a wasteland of shattered buildings and mountains of rubble after months of heavy bombing and street fighting.

In addition, the conflict has created a humanitarian crisis of horrific proportions.

Palestinians in northern Gaza have eaten an average of just 245 calories a day — equivalent to less than a can of beans — since January, the British charity Oxfam says. Much of the population in northern Gaza is on the brink of starvation, the United Nations says, and Gaza's 2.4 million Palestinians are "experiencing acute food insecurity and malnutrition", a World Bank report last week said.

The top UN court has concluded there is a "plausible risk of genocide" there, a charge Israel strongly denies, and the UN Security Council has adopted a demand for a cease-fire.

Israel has faced a chorus of global calls to halt the fighting and ease the suffering.

However, in a video message issued on Monday, Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said his country's forces would storm the city of Rafah, in southern Gaza on the Egyptian border, despite global concerns for the fate of civilians sheltering there.

Moreover, fears that the conflict could spread have intensified after Iran vowed to retaliate for an airstrike on the consular office of its embassy in Damascus last week.

In the first episode of the video series China Echoes, China Daily takes a look at the conflict through the raw prism of some key words and numbers that have dominated news reports.

On March 25, after months of haggling, the Security Council finally adopted a resolution demanding an immediate cease-fire during Ramadan. The United States, Israel's top backer, had repeatedly blocked previous resolutions for a truce. However, the US, which abstained from the vote, said the resolution is "non-binding", even though Security Council resolutions are legally binding.

China has always stressed that only by fully implementing the two-state solution, establishing an independent Palestinian state and correcting the long-standing historical injustice suffered by Palestinians can the vicious cycle of conflict end.

On Monday Dai Bing, charge d'affaires of China's permanent mission to the UN, revisited the core issue of the conflict, the two-state solution. He urged Israel to cease military aggression and lift its blockade of Gaza and urged the US to shoulder its responsibilities as a permanent member of the Security Council.

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