China has called on the United Nations Security Council to convene a peace conference that will formulate a concrete timetable and pathway for a two-state solution in Israel and the Palestinian Territories. In a five-point position paper on the conflict in Gaza, Beijing also calls for a comprehensive ceasefire, unhindered access for humanitarian aid and the release of all civilian captives and warns against the forced transfer of the Palestinian population.
Speaking in New York, China’s foreign minister Wang Yi said the temporary truce should be made indefinite and warned about the danger of the conflict spreading.
“We welcome the temporary humanitarian truce agreement reached last week, but peace cannot be restricted and a ceasefire cannot be limited. Once the window of opportunity is opened, it should not be closed and once the war is extinguished, it should not be rekindled,” he said.
“We should also prevent the conflict from spilling over to the entire Middle East region and urge countries that have influence on the parties to play an active role.”
China’s position paper seeks to build on a resolution adopted by the UN security council on November 15th that called for “extended humanitarian pauses and corridors”, the immediate release of all hostages held by Hamas and other groups, and for “parties to refrain from depriving the civilian population in the Gaza Strip of basic services and humanitarian assistance”. The resolution was approved by a 12-0 vote with the United States, Britain and Russia abstaining.
China, which chaired the security council during November, saw the resolution as an initial step toward a ceasefire and Thursday’s position paper says the council should explicitly call for a comprehensive ceasefire.
“The security council should further send a clear message on opposing forced transfer of the Palestinian civilian population, preventing the displacement of Palestinian civilians and calling for the release of all civilians and hostages held captive as soon as possible,” it says.
China’s humanitarian aid to Gaza is a fraction of that of the US and the European Union but the paper says the security council should encourage the international community to give more. It also says the fundamental settlement of the question of Palestine lies in the implementation of the two-state solution and the restoration of the legitimate national rights of Palestine.
“The Security Council should help restore the two-state solution. A more broad-based, authoritative and effective international peace conference led and organised by the UN should be held as soon as possible to formulate a concrete timetable and roadmap for the implementation of the two-state solution and facilitate a comprehensive, just and lasting solution to the question of Palestine. Any arrangement on the future of Gaza must respect the will and independent choice of the Palestinian people, and must not be imposed upon them,” the paper says.
China has aligned itself with Arab and Muslim states in its response to the conflict and Xi Jinping reaffirmed Beijing’s support in a message to commemorate the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.
“The Palestinian question is at the heart of the Middle East issue, and the crux of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict lies in the long overdue realisation of the legitimate national right of the Palestinian people to establish an independent state,” he said.