Middle East Monitor / May 25, 2023
China has called on Israel to “stop encroaching” upon Palestinian territory and resources, as Tel Aviv continues to allow and approve the construction of illegal Jewish settlements in the Occupied Territories.
Speaking to the United Nations Security Council yesterday, Geng Shuang, China’s deputy Permanent Representative to the UN, stated that “since the beginning of this year, Israel has continued to advance unilateral actions on approving returns, building new settlements and legalizing settlements”.
Emphasizing that such settlement building and activities violate international law and UN Security Council Resolution 2334, he expressed Beijing’s stance to “urge Israel to immediately halt these actions and stop encroaching upon the land and resources of the Palestinian people”.
Shuang also stressed that “the historical status quo of religious holy sites in Jerusalem must be respected and upheld”, saying that Israeli National Security Minister, Itamar Ben-Gvir “caused renewed tensions” by storming Al-Aqsa Mosque compound for the second time this year and proclaiming Israel’s alleged ownership of the Islamic holy site.
“On the issue of religious holy sites, Israel must stop its provocations, guarantee the right to worship of Muslim worshipers, uphold the peace and tranquility of religious holy sites, and respect the custodianship of Jordan”, he asserted.
Shuang also drew attention to the fact that tensions and clashes between the Israeli occupation and Palestinian Resistance groups “have been repeating themselves over the past few years, fully demonstrating that a long-stalled peace process is not sustainable, that piece-meal crisis management will not last, and that a comprehensive and just solution is irreplaceable”.
He indicated China’s increasing role in the issue, as with others in the region, and the possibility of surpassing the United States as a mediatory force and hegemon. Supposedly referring to the US, he stated that “the country with major influence on the parties concerned should make concrete efforts to advance the Middle East peace process and should not unjustifiably prevent the Security Council from arriving at the minimum consensus on the Palestine-Israeli issue”.
The Chinese diplomat’s remarks came as the Israeli government yesterday approved the proposed state budget for 2023-2024, which allocates around 3.5 billion Israeli shekels ($941 million) for the illegal settlement projects and the upgrading of their infrastructure.
Current estimates report that there are around 700,000 illegal Jewish settlers living in 164 Jewish settlements and 116 Jewish outposts in the Occupied West Bank and Occupied East Jerusalem, with that set to expand as Tel Aviv frequently approves thousands of more settlement units.