China’s position paper calls for comprehensive ceasefire in Gaza
Clip source: China&apos
Dec. 01, 2023
On Thursday 30 November, China released a position paper on resolving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. The paper reiterates China’s longstanding position of support for the national rights of the Palestinian people, and sets out realistic proposals for a peaceful and durable solution to the crisis in Gaza and its underlying factors.
In sharp contrast to the statements made by the Western powers, which have largely given a carte blanche to Israel in its brutal assault on Gaza, China’s position paper calls for a comprehensive and immediate ceasefire, and for an end to the forced transfer of Palestinians – which by any reasonable definition must be considered as ethnic cleansing.
The position paper states that there will be no lasting peace without the “restoration of the legitimate national rights of Palestine, and the establishment of an independent State of Palestine that enjoys full sovereignty based on the 1967 borders and with east Jerusalem as its capital.”
It is worth noting that China is a longstanding friend of the Palestinian people and supporter of Palestinian national rights. In a letter to Ahmad al-Shukeiri, president of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), dated 6 June 1967, Premier Zhou Enlai wrote: “The Chinese people will forever remain comrades-in-arms of the Palestinian people and the people of the Arab countries in the struggle against imperialism.”
This was four years before the People’s Republic of China’s rightful seat at the United Nations was restored. Since taking up its position in the UN General Assembly and Security Council, China has been a loud and consistent voice on the international stage in favour of justice for the Palestinian people.
China sent its first aid to the Palestinian people in 1960, and when the PLO was founded in 1964, China became the first non-Arab country to recognise it. It was also one of the first countries to recognise the State of Palestine – on 20 November 1988. Indeed Yasser Arafat – historic leader of the Palestinian resistance and Chairman of the PLO from 1969 to 2004 – stated in 1970 that “China is the biggest influence in supporting our revolution and strengthening its perseverance.”
In May 2013, just two months after his election as president, Xi Jinping put forward a four-point proposal for the settlement of the Palestinian question, highlighting his personal commitment to the cause. This proposal was pragmatic and realistic, and centered around the demand for an independent, viable Palestinian state enjoying full sovereignty on the basis of the 1967 borders and with East Jerusalem as its capital. Xi reiterated this demand in a new three-point proposal for settlement of the Palestinian question, put forward during discussions with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Beijing in June this year.
In response to the current crisis raging in Gaza, Xi has commented that “the right of the Palestinian people to statehood, their right to existence, and their right of return have long been ignored.” China’s often-repeated demand – for a Palestinian state based on 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital and with the right of return for Palestinian refugees – reflects the legitimate national rights of the Palestinian people, and is consistent with the position of the PLO and the Arab League, and furthermore with UN General Assembly Resolution 3236, adopted in 1974, which affirms the Palestinians’ right to national independence and sovereignty.
With Israel committing war crimes on a vast scale in Gaza – targeting hospitals, schools, residential buildings, refugee camps and mosques, and killing civilians in their thousands – China has persistently called for a ceasefire, a position supported by the vast majority of the world’s countries, although unfortunately not the US and Britain.
Addressing an extraordinary joint meeting of the leaders of the BRICS countries last week, President Xi called for the convening of an international peace conference to build international consensus and to create a path towards Palestinian statehood. He stated: “The only viable way to break the cycle of Palestinian-Israeli conflict lies in the two-state solution, in the restoration of the legitimate national rights of Palestine, and in the establishment of an independent State of Palestine.”
With its facilitation of a rapprochement between Iran and Saudi Arabia earlier this year, China has shown that it has a valuable role to play in helping to resolve conflicts in the Middle East region. This is why, earlier this month, a delegation of foreign ministers from Arab and Islamic countries seeking to find a solution to the Gaza crisis chose China as the first destination of their ministerial tour.
It is increasingly clear to the peoples of the world that while the imperialist powers cling on to their old habits of war, aggression, unilateralism and coercion, China is working determinedly and resolutely for peace, development, multipolarity and common prosperity.
The full text of the position paper is republished below, along with a report from the Chinese Foreign Ministry of President Xi Jinping’s message of congratulations to the 30 November UN meeting marking the International Day of Solidarity with Palestinian People.
Position Paper of the People’s Republic of China on Resolving the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict
The current Palestinian-Israeli conflict has caused heavy civilian casualties and a serious humanitarian disaster. It is a grave concern of the international community. President Xi Jinping stated China’s principled position on the current Palestinian-Israeli situation on a number of occasions. He stressed the need for an immediate ceasefire and ending the fighting, ensuring that the humanitarian corridors are safe and unimpeded, and preventing the expansion of the conflict. He pointed out that the fundamental way out of this lies in the two-state solution, building international consensus for peace, and working toward a comprehensive, just and lasting settlement of the Palestinian question at an early date.
Pursuant to the Charter of the United Nations, the Security Council shoulders primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security, and should thus play an active and constructive role on the question of Palestine. In this connection, China offers the following proposals:
- Implementing a comprehensive ceasefire and ending the fighting. Parties to the conflict should truly implement the relevant UNGA and UNSC resolutions and immediately realize a durable and sustained humanitarian truce. Building on UNSC Resolution 2712, the Security Council, in response to the calls of the international community, should explicitly demand a comprehensive ceasefire and end of the fighting, work for de-escalation of the conflict, and cool down the situation as soon as possible.
- Protecting civilians effectively. The UNSC resolution demands in explicit terms that all parties comply with their obligations under international humanitarian law, notably with regard to the protection of civilians. It is imperative to stop any violent attacks against civilians and violations of international humanitarian law, and avoid attacks on civilian facilities. 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.
- Ensuring humanitarian assistance. All relevant parties must, as per requirements of the UNSC resolution, refrain from depriving the civilian population in Gaza of supplies and services indispensable to their survival, set up humanitarian corridors in Gaza to enable rapid, safe, unhindered and sustainable humanitarian access, and avoid a humanitarian disaster of even greater gravity. The Security Council should encourage the international community to ramp up humanitarian assistance, improve the humanitarian situation on the ground, and support the coordinating role of the United Nations as well as the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) in humanitarian assistance, and prepare the international community for supporting post-conflict reconstruction in Gaza.
- Enhancing diplomatic mediation. The Security Council should leverage its role in facilitating peace as mandated in the UN Charter to demand that parties to the conflict exercise restraint to prevent the conflict from widening and uphold peace and stability in the Middle East. The Security Council should value the role of regional countries and organizations, support the good offices of the UN Secretary General and the Secretariat, and encourage countries with influence on parties to the conflict to uphold an objective and just position so as to jointly play a constructive role in deescalating the crisis.
- Seeking political settlement. According to relevant UNSC resolutions and international consensus, the fundamental settlement of the question of Palestine lies in the implementation of the two-state solution, restoration of the legitimate national rights of Palestine, and the establishment of an independent State of Palestine that enjoys full sovereignty based on the 1967 border and with east Jerusalem as its capital. The Security Council should help restore the two state solution. A more broad-based, authoritative and effective international peace conference led and organized 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.
Xi Jinping Sends Congratulatory Message to U.N. Special Commemorative Meeting in Observance of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People
On November 29, 2023, President Xi Jinping sent a congratulatory message to a UN Special Commemorative Meeting in observance of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.
Xi Jinping pointed out that the question of Palestine lies at the heart of the Middle East issue. It is a matter of international fairness and justice. The root cause of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is the fact that the realization of the legitimate national right of Palestinians to establish an independent State of Palestine is long overdue. There can be no sustainable security without security for all: this is a hard lesson learned from the cycle of repeated Palestinian-Israeli conflicts. The international community must act now and urgently. The United Nations Security Council must take on its responsibility and do all it can to push for ceasefire, protect civilians, and end the humanitarian disaster. Palestinian-Israeli peace talks should be resumed on that basis as soon as possible. The Palestinians’ right to statehood, right to existence, and right of return must be realized at the earliest date.
Xi Jinping emphasized that China has all along firmly supported the just cause of the Palestinian people to regain their legitimate national rights. The fundamental solution to the question of Palestine lies in the establishment of an independent State of Palestine that enjoys full sovereignty based on the 1967 border and with east Jerusalem as its capital. The economic needs of Palestine and its people’s living necessities must be guaranteed. The international community should provide more development assistance and humanitarian support for Palestine. It is important to keep to the right direction of peace talks. A more authoritative international conference for peace should be convened as soon as possible. China has put forward the Global Security Initiative, and is of the view that disagreements and disputes between nations should be resolved through dialogue and consultation. China supports all efforts that are conducive to the peaceful settlement of crises. On the question of Palestine, China will continue to speak up for fairness and justice, promote talks for peace, and provide humanitarian and development assistance to Palestine. As a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council, China will continue to work with the rest of the international community to build consensus for peace, get the question of Palestine back on the right track of the two-state solution, and seek an early resolution that is comprehensive, just and durable.
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