At UN, China calls for easing Mideast conflict

By Amy He at the United Nations | China Daily USA | Updated: 2017-07-26 10:23

China's permanent representative to the UN said on Tuesday that current tensions in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict need to be eased as soon as possible to avoid escalation and reaching the "point of becoming extremely dangerous".

"The Security Council and regional states need to carry out emergency diplomatic action, try their utmost to engage with the parties concerned to calm things down, and avoid the expansion of tension, which will cause even more serious consequences," said Liu Jieyi, presiding over a debate on the Middle East at the UN Security Council.

"Provisions of relevant Security Council resolutions must be implemented, including the one on upholding unchanged the historic status quo of holy sites of Jerusalem," he said, referring to the July 14 attack at the entrances of the Aqsa Mosque Compound in Jerusalem's Old City, a holy site revered by Muslims and Jews.

Two Israeli police officers and three gunmen of Palestinian origin were killed, after which the Israeli government ordered metal detectors at the entrances of the compound. Violence erupted after the enhanced security, which led to days of protest and bloodshed, according to reports. Palestinian Muslims called for a boycott of prayers at the site as the detectors remained in place.

On Monday, Israel said it would replace the metal detectors with less-obtrusive security measures and began dismantling the devices on Tuesday, according to The New York Times.

At the UN, Liu said that the international community should help maintain peace in the Middle East and promote a political settlement on the question of Palestine "by addressing both the symptoms and the root causes" and maintain the rights and interests of the Palestinian people. The international community should also prevent the situation between Palestine and Israel from "going out of control" and "prevent the Middle East from sliding into a bigger crisis", he said.

Nickolay Mladenov, special coordinator for the Middle East peace process, warned that the confrontation risks turning "into a religious conflict and dragging both sides into the vortex of violence" with the rest of the region.

"All parties must refrain from provocative action, show restraint, and bring a conclusive end to this crisis in the next few days," he said. "In these efforts, constant discussion with the Islamic religious authorities in Jerusalem and the Palestinian leadership can greatly contribute to maintaining calm in East Jerusalem and the rest of the occupied West Bank."

Riyad Mansour, Palestine's permanent representative to the UN, accused Israel of persisting with its "reckless and destructive agenda" against the people of Palestine "in absolute contempt for international law and the will of the international community".

He called for de-escalation and a restoration of the historic status quo at the Aqsa Mosque Compound and said that Palestinian leadership will engage in peace efforts.

Danny Danon, Israel's UN representative, said that the continued conflict "comes from the unrelenting glorification of terror" by the Palestinian government.


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