UNITED NATIONS, Jan. 19 (Xinhua) -- A Chinese envoy on Wednesday called on the international community to give new impetus to the settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The question of Palestine has been on the UN agenda for 75 years. The new year should bring new hope to the Palestinian people, and the international community should act with a stronger sense of urgency by taking vigorous actions to promote the comprehensive, just and lasting settlement of the Palestinian issue, said Geng Shuang, China's deputy permanent representative to the United Nations.
Violence and hostilities must be stopped and tensions eased, he told a Security Council open debate on the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question.
Last year saw continued unrest in the occupied Palestinian territory. Since the beginning of this year, the situation on the ground has continued to be tense and worrying, said Geng. "We call on all parties concerned to keep calm, exercise restraint, refrain from hostilities and violence, and consolidate the cease-fire in Gaza."
As the occupying power, Israel must fulfill its obligations under international law, guarantee the safety of the people in the occupied territory, investigate violence against Palestinian civilians, and maintain the historical status quo of the holy sites in Jerusalem. Meanwhile, Israel's legitimate security concerns must be respected, he said.
Relevant Security Council resolutions must be implemented and settlement activities must stop, said Geng.
In 2021, Israel's settlement activities in the West Bank continued to expand, and the number of demolished Palestinian homes was the highest since 2016. Settlement activities violate international law. China urges Israel to stop demolishing Palestinian homes, stop evicting Palestinians and expanding settlements, and create conditions for the development of Palestinian communities in the West Bank, he said.
China is equally concerned about Israel's recent announcement that it will invest more than 300 million U.S. dollars in settlement construction in the Golan. The international community recognizes Syria's sovereignty over the Golan. China urges Israel to stop settlement activities that could lead to tensions, he said.
The economy and people's livelihoods should receive enough attention and humanitarian assistance should be scaled up, he said.
At present, Palestine is in deep economic and financial crisis. The humanitarian situation is worrying and people are living a difficult life. The international community should step up its support, enhance the authority of the Palestinian National Authority, empower it to exercise its sovereign functions in the fields of security and finance, and provide basic public services, he said.
China appreciates the efforts by Egypt, Qatar and other regional countries for the recovery and reconstruction of Gaza, and calls on all parties to strengthen financial support to the UN agency for Palestine refugees. China has taken note of the measures recently taken by Israel, such as the transfer of tax revenues to the Palestinian side. China hopes this will help restore Palestinian-Israeli coordination in economic and civil fields. China once again calls on Israel to lift its blockade on the Gaza Strip, said Geng.
All efforts should be mobilized to promote peace and implement the two-state solution. History and reality have repeatedly proved that the two-state solution is the only viable way to resolve the Palestinian issue. The international community should uphold an objective and fair approach, advocate tolerance and mutual understanding, and do more for the resumption of dialogue between the two sides based on the two-state solution, he said.
"We hope that the two sides will take the recent high-level contacts as an opportunity to gradually build mutual trust and continue to build momentum. We expect Palestinian factions to strengthen solidarity, achieve internal reconciliation through consultations and dialogue, and form a unified negotiating position," he said.
China supports the establishment of a fully sovereign and independent state of Palestine and supports the peaceful coexistence of Palestine and Israel and the common development of the Arab and Jewish peoples. China will continue to work relentlessly with the international community toward the early settlement of the Palestinian issue, he said.