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We must stand together, advocate for Mideast justice

By Saud Faisal Malik | China Daily Global | Updated: 2023-11-21 09:08
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A picture taken from southern Israel near the border with the Gaza Strip on Nov 20, 2023. [Photo/Agencies]

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict, one of the most enduring and deeply rooted conflicts in the world, has once again erupted into violence and tragedy. As the president of the Security Council for November, China has expressed its commitment to maintaining close communication with all parties involved.

Since the outbreak of the latest round of conflict, China has made compelling calls for an immediate cessation of hostilities between Israelis and Palestinians.

China's call underscores a fundamental principle that should be embraced by all countries: The safety and well-being of civilians must be the top priority.

The indiscriminate use of force, resulting in the destruction of civilian facilities such as hospitals, schools and refugee camps, is a grave violation of international law and a stain on humanity. The protection of the rights and lives of innocent civilians should be above politics and conflict. By making this call, China demonstrates its commitment to humanitarian values that transcend political boundaries.

China's unequivocal stance against all forms of violence and attacks on civilians highlights the necessity for the international community to unite in condemning such actions. A world that values peace and justice cannot afford to remain silent in the face of the suffering endured by the people of Gaza. It is vital that we all stand together to reject any violation of international law and advocate for justice for those affected by this conflict.

China's message calls upon Israel, as the occupying power, to fulfill its obligations under international law. The prompt restoration of basic subsistence supplies to Gaza, ensuring local communications, and facilitating the unobstructed delivery of humanitarian aid are essential to alleviate the suffering of the Palestinian people. Furthermore, the call to cease the collective punishment of the people of Gaza is a crucial step toward relieving their plight.

China's firm rejection of forced displacement and the forcible relocation of the Palestinian population is testament to its commitment to human rights. The immediate lifting of the evacuation order for northern Gaza, as called for by China, is an essential measure to prevent further suffering in the region. This stance reflects the broader international consensus against actions that displace and dispossess innocent civilians.

It is imperative to recognize that the situation in Gaza did not materialize in a vacuum. More than half a century of Israeli occupation has steadily encroached upon Palestinian living space, resources and their right to self-determination.

The expansion of settlement activities has further diminished the prospects of an independent, sovereign and contiguous Palestinian state. It is crucial to acknowledge that the ongoing violence, deteriorating humanitarian conditions, and growing despair in the region are all consequences of an unsustainable status quo.

In its call for the cessation of settlement activities and the return to the two-state solution, China aligns with the international community's desire for a comprehensive and just resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. By urging Israel to respect Security Council Resolution 2334 and halt the intensifying settler violence, China demonstrates its commitment to a peaceful coexistence of Israelis and Palestinians.

China rightly emphasizes the importance of addressing the root causes of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Instead of relying on short-term crisis management and limited humanitarian measures, the international community should prioritize a comprehensive solution. Piecemeal approaches have proved insufficient in the past, and it is time for the world to collectively work toward a just, lasting and sustainable solution to the Palestinian question.

This commitment extends to playing a constructive role in promoting the cessation of hostilities, protecting civilians and preventing a worsening humanitarian catastrophe. China's active engagement at the UN reflects its dedication to achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

In the face of the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict, China's position represents a positive and principled call for peace. Its appeal for an immediate cessation of hostilities, respect for international law, and protection of civilian lives is a welcome addition to the international discourse on this longstanding issue.

By challenging the root causes of the conflict and advocating for the two-state solution, China highlights the need for a comprehensive approach that prioritizes the rights, security and dignity of all parties involved. It is crucial for the international community to heed this call and work toward a just and lasting resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that can bring enduring peace to the region.

The author is editor-in-chief of Observer Diplomat magazine in Pakistan.

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