Remarks by Ambassador Dai Bing at Security Council VTC on the Situation in the Middle East, Including the Palestinian Question
26 January 2021
China welcomes His Excellency Mr. Nafti, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, as he presided over this meeting. We thank Special Coordinator Wennesland and Secretary-General Gheit for their briefings. Today is the first time Mr. Wennesland is attending the Council meeting as the Special Coordinator. We extend to him a special welcome as he takes up this important mission.
This is the first time the Security Council deliberates on the question of Palestine in 2021, but this year is already the 74th year that the question of Palestine has stayed on the UN agenda. As we said many times on this question, what is lacking is not a grand plan, but the courage to honor the commitment and the conscience to uphold justice. The Palestinian people’s long-cherished aspirations and legitimate demand for establishing an independent state cannot be delayed indefinitely. New changes are on the horizon in the current international landscape and in the Middle East region. The international community should seize the opportunity to launch new efforts for peace with a greater sense of urgency and push for new progress and new atmosphere in the Middle East peace process.
First, to activate diplomatic efforts and form synergy to advance the peace process. Palestine and Israel are neighbors that cannot move away from each other. They should rebuild mutual trust and find a way to live next to each other and coexist peacefully. The international community should step up coordination and establish multilateral peace promotion mechanism with extensive participation so as to form strong synergy to promote peace talks. The parties with significant influence on the Palestinian question should keep an objective and fair stance, proceed from the fundamental interests of the Palestinian people and regional countries, and make efforts to advance the Middle East peace process. China supports the Arab countries’ just position on the Palestinian question and appreciate and support the important role played by the Arab League and other regional organizations. President Abbas proposed holding an international conference on peace in the Middle East this year. This important initiative deserves positive consideration by the international community.
As the Security Council bears the primary responsibility for maintaining international peace and security, it is duty bound to promote the resolution of the Palestinian question. Under the current circumstances, the Council should listen to the voices of Palestine and regional countries as well as regional organizations, be active in promoting the early resumption of dialogue between Palestine and Israel on an equal footing to remove differences and factors of conflict. All efforts which are conducive to the political settlement of the Palestinian question will have China’s active participation and strong support. As a permanent member of the Security Council, China will continue to push for a greater role by the Council in the Middle East peace process.
We have taken note of Palestine’s announcement of holding comprehensive elections this year. China welcomes this announcement and sincerely hopes that the elections will run smoothly to increase intra-Palestine unity and more effectively safeguard and promote the interests of the Palestinian people.
Second, to comply with the international consensus and hold acts that undermine mutual trust. The relevant UN resolutions on the Middle East, the land for peace principle, the Arab Peace Initiative, and the two-state solution point to the correct direction that has been borne out by history, and are the basic tenets for resolving the Palestinian question and should continue to be implemented. The settlement question is one of the core issues related to Palestine’s final status negotiations, and has a bearing on the prospects of achieving the two state solution. Security Council resolution 2334 clearly states that settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territories violate international law. In the past two weeks, the construction plans of more than 800 settlement housing units were approved and bidding started for more than 2,600 units. China is deeply concerned over the continuous advancement and significant expansion of Israeli settlement activities and calls for the cessation of all settlement activities in the occupied territories.
The parties concerned should resolve the issue of the occupied Palestinian territories in accordance with relevant UN resolutions, and delineate the final border between Palestine and Israel through peaceful negotiations. We call on the parties to adhere to the strategic choice of peace talks, cherish the existing results of dialogue and refrain from actions that lead to the intensification of conflict. Israel should stop demolishing Palestinian houses and destroying Palestinian properties, prevent violence against civilians and lift the blockade of the Gaza strip as soon as possible. At the same time, Israel’s right to existence and legitimate security concerns should also be fully respected and guaranteed.
Third, to adhere to a people-centered approach and improve the humanitarian situation in Palestine. The plight faced by the Palestinian people in survival and development cannot be ignored. Against the current backdrop, we must pay particular attention to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Palestine and take action, including by promoting the fair distribution of vaccines, and help the Palestinian people in fighting the pandemic. China appreciates UNRWA provision of education and medical services to Palestinian refugees and its contribution to improving the humanitarian situation in Palestine. The international community should continue to increase political and financial support to the agency.
After the outbreak of COVID-19, China sent a team of anti-epidemic medical experts to assist Palestine, made four batches of anti-epidemic materials in aid of Palestine, provided anti-epidemic materials to medical facilities of UNRWA, and through UNRWA, delivered health kits to Palestinian refugees in Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria.
China is a sincere friend of the Palestinian people, and has kept to its heart the Middle East peace process. Last December, President Xi Jinping sent for the eighth consecutive year a congratulatory message to the meeting commemorating the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. He emphasized China’s support for the Palestinian people’s just cause for restoring their legitimate national rights, and for efforts to promote the peaceful settlement of the Palestinian question. China stands ready to continue to work with the international community in pushing for an earlier realization of a comprehensive, just, and lasting settlement of the Palestinian question and actively contributing to peace, stability, and development in the Middle East.
Thank you, Mr. President.