Israel-Hamas conflict

China calls for immediate 'sustained humanitarian truce'

Published : 30 Nov 2023 05:24 PM

China on Thursday called for a "sustained humanitarian truce" in the Israel-Hamas conflict, in a foreign ministry paper released as mediators in the war worked to reach agreement on another extension of the six-day pause in fighting.

"Parties to the conflict should... immediately realize a durable and sustained humanitarian truce," said the document, pitched as China's "position on resolving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict".

It called for a "comprehensive ceasefire and end of the fighting".

And it urged the UN Security Council to send a "clear message" opposing the "forced transfer of the Palestinian civilian population" as well as "calling for the release of all civilians and hostages held captive".

The body must also "demand that parties to the conflict exercise restraint to prevent the conflict from widening and uphold peace and stability in the Middle East", it added.

In the long term, it said: "Any arrangement on the future of Gaza must respect the will and independent choice of the Palestinian people".

China said last week it welcomed a truce between Israel and Hamas, which began Friday and led to dozens of hostages being freed and the release of more than 100 Palestinian prisoners.

The truce, scheduled to end early Thursday, has brought a temporary halt to fighting that began on October 7 when Hamas militants poured over the border into Israel, killing 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and kidnapping about 240, according to Israeli authorities.

Israel's subsequent air and ground campaign in Gaza has killed nearly 15,000 people, also mostly civilians, according to Hamas officials, and reduced large parts of the north of the territory to rubble.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has arrived in Tel Aviv for talks on aid for Gaza and Israel's truce with Hamas.

China has historically been sympathetic to the Palestinian cause and supportive of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
And President Xi Jinping has called for an "international peace conference" to resolve the fighting.

In a letter to a UN meeting held on the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, Xi called for "urgent actions to address the Palestine-Israel conflict".

Xi urged the UN Security Council to "make every effort to facilitate a ceasefire, ensure the safety of civilians, and stop the humanitarian disaster", Beijing's state news agency Xinhua said.

China earlier this year released a position paper on Russia's conflict in Ukraine calling for peace talks, but it was met with scepticism by the United States and NATO for being seen as skewed towards Russia.