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China says force 'not way' to resolve Israeli-Palestinian conflict

BEIJING: China believes “force is not a way to resolve” the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and is once again calling for a ceasefire, its envoy for the Middle East pleaded in Egypt, the foreign ministry said on Sunday (Oct 22).

Egypt on Saturday hosted a “summit for peace” where UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for swift “action to end this godawful nightmare” after two weeks of war between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas.

Beijing’s envoy for the Middle East, Zhai Jun, met Arab League chief Ahmed Aboul Gheit on the sidelines of the summit.

The Chinese diplomat called for an “immediate ceasefire and an end to the fighting as quickly as possible”, his ministry said in a statement.

“China believes that force is not a way to resolve the problem and that responding to violence with violence will only lead to a vicious circle of revenge,” Zhai said according to the statement, which mentioned neither Israel nor Hamas.

Hamas militants stormed into Israel from the Gaza Strip on Oct 7 and killed at least 1,400 people, mostly civilians who were shot, mutilated or burnt to death on the first day of the raid, according to Israeli officials.

Israel’s retaliatory bombing campaign has killed more than 4,600 Palestinians, mainly civilians, according to the Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza.

China has so far maintained good relations with Israel, but it has supported the Palestinian cause for decades and traditionally backs a two-state solution.

China said on Thursday it was “deeply disappointed” by the United States’ decision to veto a UN Security Council resolution calling for a “humanitarian pause” in the Israel-Hamas conflict.

Washington justified its veto because the text did not mention Israel’s right to defend itself.

Chinese President Xi Jinping said it was “crucial to prevent the conflict from expanding or even losing control and causing a serious humanitarian crisis”, as he met with Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouli in Beijing on Thursday.

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