Remarks by H.E. Wang Yi, State Councilor and Foreign Minister of the People’s Republic of China, at the Palestine-Israel Peace Symposium
15 July 2021
Welcome to the Palestine-Israel Peace Symposium. It is the fourth time China holds this event since 2006. In the 15 years in between, much has happened in the international landscape. The Middle East has been far from peaceful, and the Palestine-Israel peace process has suffered major setbacks. The recent outbreak of serious conflict between the two sides caused heavy casualties among innocent civilians and property losses. This once again reminds us that the question of Palestine is at the very heart of the Middle East situation. Without its solution, tranquility can hardly be maintained in the Middle East and there will be no international fairness and justice to speak of.
China has been consistent in its support of an early resumption of peace talks between Palestine and Israel on the basis of the two-state solution, and of any effort that deescalates the situation and helps the two neighbors live side by side. When the conflict broke out in May, under China’s initiative as the rotating Council president, the UN Security Council made a strong call for the cessation of hostilities between the two sides. In addition, China provided one million US dollars in immediate humanitarian assistance to Palestine, and donated another one million US dollars in cash to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).
All of you joining the event today have long been dedicated to peace between Palestine and Israel. China salutes you for your steadfast commitment. Right now, the developments between Palestine and Israel are complicated and fragile. The more challenging the situation is, the more precious your unremitting pursuit of peace, and the more important for us to nurture the spark of hope, explore the way forward for peace talks, and seek the light of peace.
The purpose of China holding this symposium today is to create a platform for the free exchange of views in a friendly, equal and candid atmosphere, on which consensus may emerge. China is also ready to offer its own views and proposal, so that we can jointly contribute our wisdom to the settlement of the Palestinian question.
First, it is important to reaffirm the conviction in peace and expand the ranks of peace advocates. Both Palestine and Israel stand to gain from cooperation and lose from confrontation. Active steps need to be taken to guide people on both sides, promote a culture of tolerance and self-restraint, reject extreme violence, and expand the ranks of peace advocates. China supports the Geneva Initiative in playing a greater role, and stands ready to provide assistance and engage in cooperation. We will continue to invite young people from Palestine and Israel to China for exchanges and dialogue, in a common effort to sow the seeds of hope and grow the sprouts of peace.
Second, it is important to advocate an attitude of mutual accommodation and move forward the peace talks. This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Madrid Peace Conference. The principle of “land for peace” established at the Conference provides energy for the peace process. Both Palestine and Israel need to commit themselves to a negotiated settlement to their differences on the basis of mutual respect and through equal-footed dialogue. China welcomes representatives from the two sides to come to China for direct negotiations, and will be happy to offer dialogue platforms for all those from Palestine and Israel that are committed to promoting the vision of peace.
Third, it is important to act in a spirit of solidarity and alleviate the humanitarian hardships. The current humanitarian situation in Palestine is a cause for concern, as it might gravely erode the social foundation for peace. It is imperative to scale up humanitarian assistance to Palestine, push for the lifting of the blockade and siege on Gaza, and guarantee the legitimate rights of the people in the occupied Palestinian territories. China will continue to provide humanitarian assistance to Palestine, and stands supportive of the work of the UNRWA.
Fourth, it is important to stick to the two-state solution and deliver fairness and justice. The past and the present have proved time and again that the two-state solution is the only viable way to resolve the Palestinian question as it represents international consensus, fairness and justice. Biased solution or exclusive arrangement will not get anywhere. China supports the UN in playing a leading role. We call for a UN-led international peace conference participated by the permanent members of the Security Council and all stakeholders in the Middle East peace process, to put the two-state solution into practice and restart the peace talks between the two sides.
At the recent commemoration marking the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China, President Xi Jinping made the solemn pledge to the world that China will always be a builder of world peace, a contributor to global development, and a defender of the international order. China has and will continue to uphold and promote peace and stability in the Middle East. Our efforts to promote peace through talks will not cease until the Palestinian question is resolved. Going forward, we are ready to work with countries in the region and the international community, and contribute to the full, just and durable solution of the Palestinian question so that Palestine and Israel will live side by side in peace.