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UN calls for full adherence to cease-fire

By LIU YINMENG in Los Angeles | China Daily Global | Updated: 2021-05-24 09:09
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In a devastated neighborhood of Gaza City, joy is expressed by Palestinians on Saturday following a cease-fire that took effect the previous day. ASHRAF AMRA/GETTY IMAGES

The United Nations Security Council has called for "full adherence to the cease-fire" in its first media statement on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict since violence broke out between the two sides on May 10.

The statement welcomed the announcement of the cease-fire, which began on Friday. It recognized the "important role Egypt, other regional countries, the UN, the Middle East Quartet and other international partners played in this regard".

The Security Council "mourned the deaths of civilians" and "stressed the immediate need for humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian civilian population, particularly in Gaza", the Security Council said.

It backed the UN secretary-general's call for the world to work with the UN to develop "an integrated, robust package of support for a swift, sustainable reconstruction and recovery".

In the statement, Security Council members also highlighted "the importance of achieving a comprehensive peace based on the vision of a region where two democratic states, Israel and Palestine, live side by side in peace with secure and recognized borders".

Zhang Jun, China's permanent representative to the UN, said he was glad to see the Security Council speaks in one voice to support the cease-fire.

Saturday's statement was jointly initiated by China, Norway, Tunisia and France, according to China's Permanent Mission to the UN, which holds the presidency of the Security Council this month. It was approved by all 15 members of the council.

More work needed

China appreciates Norway, Tunisia and France for the joint efforts, Zhang said. He emphasized that "more work needs to be done to stabilize the situation, meet humanitarian needs and seek a long-term solution".

The exchange of rocket fire and airstrikes between Palestine and Israel came to an end late on Thursday after the Israeli security cabinet approved an Egyptian-brokered cease-fire with Hamas, the Islamic Resistance Movement.

The halt to violence ended 11 days of bloodshed that left at least 243 Palestinians dead, including 66 children. Twelve Israelis died, including two children, Xinhua reported. The latest conflict marked the most intensive fighting between the two sides since the devastating 2014 war in Gaza.

The violence began with clashes between Palestinians and Israeli police at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem's Old City on May 10 after Jewish settlers tried to evict Palestinian families from their homes in East Jerusalem.

From May 10 the Security Council held four emergency meetings to discuss the conflict, including a public high-level debate chaired by Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi on May 16.

The council had proposed four media statements over the past two weeks calling for a cease-fire, but they had all been blocked by the US, Israel's closest ally.

During a General Assembly meeting on Thursday, Zhang reiterated China's commitment to protect the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people. China will continue to seek a just solution to the Palestine question at the Security Council based on the two-state solution, he said.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said on Friday that China plans to provide $1 million in cash to Palestine and donate 200,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines to the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East.

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