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Israel-Hamas war: China’s Middle East envoy tells Palestinian official that ceasefire is ‘top priority’


China stepped up its diplomatic efforts over the Israel-Hamas conflict on Wednesday, reaching out to the Palestinian Authority in a bid to facilitate a ceasefire.

Zhai Jun, China’s special envoy for Middle East affairs, spoke by phone with Amal Jadou, first deputy minister of Palestinian foreign affairs, according to the Chinese foreign ministry.

“The top priority now is an immediate ceasefire and protection of civilians,” Zhai said.

He also called on the international community to work together for a de-escalation of the violence and to provide Palestinians with humanitarian aid.


Soldiers find ‘massacre’ in Israeli village as air strikes continue to pummel Gaza

Soldiers find ‘massacre’ in Israeli village as air strikes continue to pummel Gaza

Zhai said China was deeply saddened by the war between Israel and Hamas, and the resulting deaths and injuries.

As of Thursday, the attacks by Hamas have killed at least 1,200 people in Israel and wounded more than 2,700, Israeli authorities said. Palestinian officials said 1,100 people have been killed and 5,339 injured by Israeli strikes on Gaza.

“China will continue to promote a ceasefire to end the violence, help to alleviate the humanitarian crisis, actively encourage peace and promote talks, and play a constructive role in promoting a comprehensive, just and lasting solution to the question of Palestine,” Zhai said.

In reiterating China’s position, he said the only way out was to implement a two-state solution, resume peace negotiations, establish an independent state of Palestine and achieve a peaceful coexistence between Palestine and Israel.

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It was Zhai’s second phone call in two days, after Hamas militants attacked Israel on Saturday, indiscriminately killing civilians and taking hostages. On Tuesday, he told Egyptian assistant foreign minister Osama Khedr that Beijing was willing to coordinate with Egypt to push for a ceasefire.

According to the Chinese foreign ministry readout of the call, Jadou thanked China for its support and said the humanitarian situation in Gaza was “very grim”.

“The Palestinian side trusts China and hopes that China will continue to play a constructive role in the current situation,” she was quoted as saying.

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Although the state of Palestine has not been accepted by the United Nations, Beijing recognised the Palestine Authority government and established diplomatic relations in 1988.

Since 2007, Fatah, the controlling party of the authority, has lost control of the Gaza Strip to its rival Hamas and retained control only of the West Bank.

At his press conference on Wednesday, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin avoided commenting about Beijing’s views of Hamas.

He said only that the Palestine issue should be resolved through political means and that the legitimate concerns of all parties should be addressed.

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