China and Cuba have censured Israel’s highly contentious plan to annex large parts of the occupied West Bank at the UN Security Council, with Beijing saying the Palestinians “can always count” on its backing in pursuit of their rights.
Speaking at a Security Council briefing on the situation in the Middle East, China’s UN Ambassador Zhang Jun said his country is “deeply concerned” about Israel’s annexation bid.
“Such a plan, if implemented, will seriously violate international law and relevant UN resolutions, and imperil the two-state solution. We urge the relevant party to refrain from taking any unilateral actions, and do its best to de-escalate conflict and tension,” he said.
“It is equally imperative to stop settlement activities, the demolition of Palestinian structures, and the violence against civilians,” the Chinese envoy added.
Referring to a recent telephone conversation between Chinese President Xi Jinping and Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas, the envoy stressed that Beijing backs “Abbas’s call for an international peace conference and to enlarge the multilateral mechanism for peace.”
“China is a sincere friend of the Palestinian people. The Palestinian people can always count on China’s support for their just cause and legitimate national rights,” he said.
He also noted that the “international community has been loud and clear in voicing objection to annexation.”
Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu plans to annex about a third of the occupied West Bank, including settlements and the fertile Jordan Valley.
The scheme is, however, on hold amid deep divisions within Netanyahu’s coalition cabinet.
US President Donald Trump had already given Tel Aviv the green light for the land grab in his self-proclaimed “deal of the century,” which was unveiled in January with the aim of re-drawing the Middle East map.
Cuba: UNSC must not remain tight-lipped
Similarly, Cuba’s Mission to the UN condemned Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories, annexation policy, colonizing practices, settlement construction activities, punitive demolitions, forced displacement of civilians and the blockade of the Gaza Strip.
In a document submitted at the Security Council, it said that Israel persists with its violations of international law by trying to annex the Palestinian lands despite the difficult conditions caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
The mission also criticized the Security Council for remaining silent on the illegal Israeli measures, saying, “Cuba has strictly supported a comprehensive, just and lasting solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which allows the Palestinian people to exercise the right to self-determination and establish an independent and sovereign State on the pre-1967 borders, with East Jerusalem [al-Quds] as its capital, and guarantees the refugees' right to return.”
During the same Security Council session, UN Special Coordinator Nickolay Mladenov briefed the member states on the latest development regarding Israel's West Bank annexation.
“With unemployment in Israel surging to over 20 percent, and with thousands of Israelis taking to the streets to demand greater financial support from their government, many have highlighted the staggering financial and, potentially, human cost of moving forward with potential annexation plans,” he said, reiterating UN chief Antonio Guterres’ call on the Israeli regime to “abandon plans to annex parts of the occupied West Bank.”
Annexation plan ‘declaration of war,’ opportunity for Palestinian unity
Meanwhile, Jibril Rajoub, secretary general of the West Bank-based Fatah political party, described Israel’s annexation plan as “a declaration of war” that would change all rules of engagement.
Speaking to Lebanese Al-Mayadeen news network, Rajoub said Fatah and the Gaza-headquartered Hamas resistance movement have abandoned division and are now heading towards confronting both the “deal of the century” and the annexation plan.
“The Palestinian leadership and factions want to turn the Israeli threat into an opportunity to unite with the international community, which is supporting us,” he said
At a joint press conference on July 2, Hamas and Fatah pledged unity against Israel’s annexation of Palestinian areas and vowed to “topple” Trump's Middle East plan.