China has accused the United States of being “indifferent” to the plight of Palestinians as the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians continues to escalate.
The surge of violence and aerial attacks that started a month ago threatens to intensify and has presented a test for powers like China and the United States looking for ways to broker peace.
Beijing – which holds the rotating presidency of the UN Security Council this month – on Friday criticised Washington for a second time this week for blocking a joint statement on the situation.
“The United States continues to be the sole party that prevents the Security Council from speaking out and continues to stand on the opposite side of the international community,” foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Thursday said the US wanted to allow time for “diplomacy to have some effect”. A day earlier, President Joe Biden said after speaking to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that he hoped the violence would end soon but “Israel has a right to defend itself”.
Israeli forces on Friday continued air strikes on the Hamas-run Gaza Strip, while Palestinian militants fired rockets into Israel. Violent street clashes between Jews and Arabs have also broken out across Israel.
Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua suggested that the US was being hypocritical.
“At the same time, the US, based on lies and political prejudice, has colluded with Germany, the UK and some of its other allies to hold a meaningless meeting on Xinjiang in the name of the United Nations,” she said. “The US should understand that the lives of the Palestinian Muslims are just as precious.”
She said China would continue its efforts to broker peace and reiterated its support for the two-state solution, a proposed framework in which Israel would peacefully coexist with a Palestinian state.
During a Middle East tour in March, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Beijing would invite Israeli and Palestinian officials to hold direct negotiations in China.
It has been Beijing’s long-held position that it supports the two-state solution in the conflict. Chinese leader Xi Jinping told Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in a July phone call last year that he supported “just demands” by the Palestinians, while Abbas said his government firmly supported Beijing’s policies on Hong Kong and Xinjiang, according to the Chinese statement.