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FM urges Washington to contribute to Gaza stability

By ZHANG YUNBI | China Daily | Updated: 2021-05-17 07:41
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The al-Jalaa building, which housed The Associated Press and Al-Jazeera media offices, is hit by an Israeli airstrike in Gaza on Saturday. The building was destroyed. [Photo/Agencies]

In a manifestation of China's commitment to cooling the soaring tension between Palestine and Israel, Beijing's senior diplomats have publicly spoken out at Washington for thwarting international efforts in brokering an early cease-fire.

State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi urged all members of the United Nations Security Council to shoulder their "due responsibilities" and effectively preserve the region's peace and security.

As a sign of the tension's severity, the Chinese embassy in Israel updated its travel alert on Wednesday advising Chinese citizens to monitor the situation and take appropriate precautions.

An Israeli airstrike destroyed the 13-floor al-Jalaa building housing media outlets including Al-Jazeera television and The Associated Press in the Gaza Strip on Saturday.

At the UN headquarters in New York, the Security Council has held two rounds of emergency closed-door consultations on the Palestine-Israel issue so far this month.

However, both meetings failed to release a statement to cool the tension as the United States stood alone in opposing the release.

China, the rotating president of the Security Council for May, pushed the council to hold the two consultations. Wang said during a phone conversation with Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Saturday that China has drafted a statement in a bid to navigate the council to take actions.

But the Security Council has so far failed to reach an agreement on the issue, and the US stands "on the opposite side of international justice", Wang added.

The US, having claimed to care about the human rights of Muslims, "should know that the lives of Palestinian Muslims equally matter", Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said on Friday.

A group of Beijing-based diplomats of Arab countries and the Arab League met on Wednesday with Zhai Jun, China's special envoy on Middle East issues, to discuss Beijing's further role in promoting de-escalation.

Zhai made clear Beijing's concerns over the escalation, urging all parties involved, especially Israel, to maintain restraint to avoid further casualties.

At the heart of the issue's recent drastic deterioration is that the Middle East peace process has deviated from its original track in recent years, the UN Security Council resolutions have not been tangibly implemented and, in particular, the Palestinian right to build an independent state has been continuously violated, Wang said on Saturday.

An ultimate way out of the Palestinian issue lies in the implementation of the two-state solution, and the Security Council should urge Palestine and Israel to resume peace talks on the basis of the two-state solution as soon as possible, he added.

China is scheduled to host a Security Council open debate on Sunday to discuss the tension, and Wang will chair the debate and deliver a speech via video link in an effort to end the hostility and restarting political dialogue.

Diplomats said an earlier proposal for the debate to be held on Friday was blocked by the US.

In response, Zhang Jun, China's permanent representative to the UN, wrote in a tweet that the Security Council "should act now and send a strong message".

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