Chinese envoy calls for restraint, end to Israeli settlements in occupied Palestinian territory

UNITED NATIONS (XINHUA) – A Chinese envoy has asked for restraint in Gaza and called on Israel to stop illegal settlement activities in occupied Palestinian territory.

Less than a month after the United Nations Security Council welcomed a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, the Israeli government approved a flag march through Jerusalem’s Old City, a move that escalated tensions, and Israel once again conducted airstrikes in Gaza.

These acts have cast a shadow over the already fragile ceasefire, said Mr Zhang Jun, China’s permanent representative to the UN.

“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,” he told the Security Council on Thursday (June 24).

Israel must uphold and respect the historic significance and current status of the Holy City and sincerely respect and protect the religious rights of Muslims, he added.

Israel’s illegal settlement activities in the occupied territory constitute an obstacle to peace between Palestine and Israel, and to the prospects for a two-state solution.

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. Therefore, they constitute one of the triggers of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict in May, Mr Zhang said.

China urges Israel to observe Security Council Resolution 2334, immediately cease its settlement activities in the occupied territory, stop its demolition of Palestinian houses and its eviction of the Palestinian people, and effectively contain the increasing violence by settlers, he said.

The protracted turmoil in the Palestinian-Israeli situation in recent years is largely caused by the fact that the Middle East peace process has been derailed, that relevant UN resolutions have not been implemented, and that 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, Mr Zhang said.

He added that the Security Council must deliver its mandate of maintaining international peace by promoting efforts to alleviate the situation, rebuild trust, and seek a political settlement.

Countries that have significant influence in the region must take an objective and impartial stand and refrain from favouring one side and refrain from practising double standards, said Mr Zhang.

China supports the UN, the Arab League, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, as well as Egypt and Qatar and other countries in their continued efforts to promote peace talks and strengthen international coordination so as to form greater synergy for peace, he said.

China will continue to lend unwavering support to the just cause of the Palestinian people in achieving their national rights, he added, noting that China supports the establishment of an independent state of Palestine with full sovereignty, and with East Jerusalem as its capital on the basis of the 1967 borders.

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