China seeks support for Israel-Palestinian peace plan

UN ambassador says Beijing will push for settlement based on Xi’s plan for two-state solution to conflict

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 01 August, 2017, 5:36pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 01 August, 2017, 5:36pm

China’s UN ambassador has urged the international community to support President Xi Jinping’s new four-point proposal to end the decades-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict and establish an independent Palestinian state.

Liu Jieyi said at a news conference on Monday that China’s future diplomatic efforts will focus on trying to move toward a negotiated solution based on the four proposals.

Xi signalled China’s increasing engagement in the Middle East when he met Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Beijing last month and outlined the plan.

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The four points are:

— Advancing the two-state solution based on 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as the capital of a new Palestinian state;

— Upholding “the concept of common, comprehensive, co-operative and sustainable security,” immediately ending Israeli settlement building, taking immediate measures to prevent violence against civilians, and calling for an early resumption of peace talks;

— Coordinating international efforts to put forward “peace-promoting measures that entail joint participation at an early date”;

— Promoting peace through development and cooperation between the Palestinians and Israel.

China views both Israel and the Palestinians as “important partners” in its “One Belt, One Road” initiative to develop transport routes and expand trade in a vast arc of countries across Asia, Africa and Europe, the ambassador said.

China has also proposed launching a “China-Palestine-Israel tripartite dialogue mechanism in order to coordinate the implementation of major assistance programmes in Palestine,” he said.

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But the gaps between the Israeli and Palestinian leaderships remain wide open, preventing any meaningful talks since 2009.

Tensions escalated recently after Arab gunmen killed two Israeli police officers at the major holy site in Jerusalem on July 14.

Israel responded by installing security devices that promoted Arab outrage and further clashes. Under intense pressure, Israel removed the metal detectors last week and prayers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque were conducted peacefully on Friday.

Liu said China plans to hold a seminar for Israeli and Palestinian “peace activists” this year, seeking “to contribute wisdom for the settlement of the Palestinian question”.

He urged the international community to “respond positively to the proposals made by China because we believe these four proposals once fully implemented will really go a long way towards helping the issue to be solved through negotiations, and also contribute to stability of the relations between the two sides.”