Chinese permanent representative to the United Nations, Zhang Jun, on Friday called for an immediate ceasefire between Israel and Palestine.
“A ceasefire and an end to the fighting cannot be delayed. A ceasefire is by no means a diplomatic statement. It is the only hope for the people of Gaza to survive,” Zhang told the UN Security Council emergency meeting on the Palestinian-Israeli situation.
Noting that the current round of conflict has been going on for 35 days and the situation continues to deteriorate, he said: “We call on all parties, especially the major power that has a unique influence on the parties, to put aside all geopolitical considerations and double standards and focus all efforts on the goal of a ceasefire and an end to the fight. We urge Israel to curb the intensifying settler violence in the West Bank so as to avoid the concurring hotspot and the spread of conflict.”
“When tens of thousands of people, including more than 4,000 children, have lost their lives; when more than 1.6 million people have been forced to flee their homes; when 2.3 million people continue to be cut off from water, electricity, fuel, food and medicine; and when hospitals, schools, refugee camps, and UN facilities have been frequently targeted, this is not only a humanitarian crisis, but, as described by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, a crisis of humanity,” he added.
Zhang said he met with representatives of Palestine and other Arab countries and those from the Organization of Islamic Cooperation earlier in the day.
“From our conversation, I was deeply struck by the pain they have deep in their hearts, by their hope for the resumption of peace, and by their expectation for the Council to take effective actions,” he said.
“In the face of all this, the world must speak out together: Enough is enough,” Zhang said, adding that “the Security Council must do away with the obstruction and interference of some members and take immediate, responsible, and meaningful action to uphold justice and maintain peace.”
Stressing the importance of protecting civilians, the envoy said, “We condemn all violence and attacks against civilians. We express our grave concern over and strong opposition to the clear violations of international humanitarian law in Gaza.”
“We urge an end to the collective punishment of civilians. We demand the safety and humanitarian needs of hostages be guaranteed and call for diplomatic efforts to facilitate their early release,” he added.
More than 1,300 children and their families are trapped in the rubble with their lives at stake, Zhang said, adding, “We support the Council to take emergency actions in this regard to facilitate a sustained truce of multiple days and an immediate opening of a green corridor for specialized agencies and equipment to enter Gaza to carry out search and rescue operations, so as to do our utmost to save children.”
The council should also respond to the joint appeal made by the Director-General of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, and Marwan Jilani, Director General of the Palestine Red Crescent Society, to establish a medical evacuation mechanism so that pregnant women and the seriously injured and sick in Gaza can be transferred and treated promptly, he said.