Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi said Israel should end its “collective punishment” of Gaza’s civilians. He warned that the country was taking action that goes beyond self-defence.
Wang said Israel’s retaliation to the terror attack against it by Hamas will only worsen regional relationships and heighten tensions.
According to the Chinese foreign minister, Israel’s reaction risks creating a humanitarian disaster. He said the government of Benjamin Netanyahu should cease what he called its collective punishment of the people of Gaza.
His remarks were made during a call on October 14 with his Saudi Arabian counterpart Prince Faisal bin Farhan.
Wang stated that Israel should heed the appeals of the international community and the UN Secretary General to end its military response that was harming Gaza Strip inhabitants.
“China opposes and condemns all actions that harm civilians because they violate basic human conscience and basic norms of international law,” he said.
“China is communicating intensively with all parties to urge for a ceasefire. The top priority now is to ensure the safety of civilians, open humanitarian aid channels and safeguard the basic needs of Gaza’s people.”
Wang also advised Prince Faisal that “all parties should not take any action that will escalate the situation and should return to the negotiating table as soon as possible”.
The Communist country has faced some criticism in the West as it has refrained from calling Hamas a terrorist organisation
China’s foreign minister also spoke by phone with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken stating that Washington should “play a constructive and responsible role” in the crisis.
Wang also advocated for the convening of an international peace conference regarding the issue as soon as feasible.
China’s Special Envoy to the Middle East Zhai Jun will visit the region next week. He will promote peace talks between Israel and Palestine during his trip.
Blinken, for his part, has visited Israel, Jordan, Qatar, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt in an attempt to prevent the conflict from spreading.
“Israel has the right – indeed it has the obligation – to defend itself against these attacks from Hamas, and to try to do what it can to make sure that this never happens again,” Blinken told reporters as he arrived in Cairo on October 15.
“As I said in Tel Aviv, as [US President [Joe] Biden has said, the way that Israel does this matters,” he said.
“It needs to do it in a way that affirms the shared values that we have for human life and human dignity, taking every possible precaution to avoid harming civilians.”
Blinken said the Egyptian-controlled border with Gaza would reopen and aid could be sent in, although some reports have said that is not certain.
Israel has said it is planning to execute a ground offensive in a bid to crush Hamas and liberate a high number of hostages taken by the terrorist organisation. It has already bombed the Gaza Strip intensely, causing thousands to try to flee the area.
According to Gaza’s Health Ministry, 2,329 people have died in Gaza since October 7 after Israel retaliated following the large-scale Hamas terror attack. That killed more than 1,400 Israelis, most of whom were civilians, and saw the abduction of close to 200 people.
Residents of Gaza City and northern Gaza, in the past days, we've urged you to relocate to the southern area for your safety. We want to inform you that the IDF will not carry out any operations along this route from 10 AM to 1 PM. During this window, please take the opportunity… pic.twitter.com/JUkcGOg0yv
— Israel Defense Forces (@IDF) October 15, 2023