China urges immediate cease-fire after attacks on Gaza aid-seekers kill 112
Published: Mar 01, 2024 09:11 PM Updated: Mar 01, 2024 10:45 PM
A hospital bed is seen at the Nasser Hospital in the southern Gaza Strip city of Khan Younis, Feb. 28, 2024. Nasser Hospital, the second-largest hospital in Gaza Strip, stopped operating after an Israeli military operation on Feb. 15.(Photo: Xinhua)

A hospital bed is seen at the Nasser Hospital in the southern Gaza Strip city of Khan Younis, Feb. 28, 2024. Nasser Hospital, the second-largest hospital in Gaza Strip, stopped operating after an Israeli military operation on Feb. 15.(Photo: Xinhua)

China on Friday again urged the parties involved, Israel in particular, to bring about an immediate cease-fire and ensure the safety of civilians, after attacks on Thursday against Palestinian aid-seekers killed at least 112 and injured more than 700 in Gaza.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning made the remarks at Friday's routine press briefing, calling on efforts to ensure humanitarian aid can be accessed. 

The Gaza Strip is currently facing an unprecedented humanitarian disaster, and the UN Security Council must take immediate action to promote a cease-fire and end the fighting, Mao said in response to the US' blocking the UNSC from issuing a statement on the killing. 

The major countries involved should truly uphold a fair and responsible attitude and play a constructive role in promoting an immediate cease-fire, Mao said. China will continue to work with all parties in the international community to push the UNSC to take further responsible and meaningful actions, make unremitting efforts to extinguish the flames of war in Gaza and alleviate the humanitarian crisis, promote the implementation of the "two-state solution" and achieve long-term stability in the Middle East region, she said.

Humanitarian groups - including UNICEF, Doctors Without Borders, and Mercy Corp - condemned the killing after Israeli soldiers opened fire on a crowd waiting for food in northern Gaza, Al Jazeera reported Friday.

Acknowledging that Israeli soldiers had opened fire on the crowd, Israeli government spokesperson Avi Hyman blamed "Gazan truck drivers" for dozens of the deaths as overwhelmed drivers rammed into the aid-seekers, causing hit-and-runs and a stampede, AFP reported. 

Analysts said the Thursday killing might not have started as a deliberate massacre, but the tragic development stemmed from shortages caused by the war, and it shows that the humanitarian disaster has become so grave in the Gaza Strip that the situation has dropped to the bottom of an abyss. 

Despite facing mounting pressure from the international community, Israel is conducting assaults in northern Gaza and obstinately advancing its plan to raid the southern city of Rafah, Liu Zhongmin, a professor at the Middle East Studies Institute of Shanghai International Studies University, told the Global Times on Friday. 

That again rang alarm bells for the international community to take immediate action to alleviate the crisis, otherwise the rights of Palestinians will continue to be eroded and prospects for a two-state solution will ultimately vanish into nothing, the expert stressed. 

The White House said it had asked its close ally Israel to probe the "tremendously alarming" deaths of aid-seekers in Gaza and the incident "needs to be thoroughly investigated." 

President Joe Biden said the killing of more than 100 Palestinians near aid trucks will complicate talks as Washington attempts to broker a temporary cease-fire deal. The release of captives by Hamas would result in a cease-fire in Gaza over a period of at least six weeks, AFP reported, citing the White House.

Chinese observers challenged the US' adherence to such a cease-fire deal, as its prospects are becoming more dire, and even if such a deal can be made, it is too fragile to alleviate the crisis in Gaza.

The US does not care about civilians in Gaza at all and is just making diplomatic gestures to appease domestic and international public opinion, Liu said. 

US Air Force airman Aaron Bushnell, 25, died on Monday after setting himself on fire outside the Israeli Embassy in Washington in an apparent act of protest against the war in Gaza. But his death made little impression on US media. 

So far, 30,139 Palestinians have been killed in Israel's offensive, including 13,230 children and 8,860 women. A quarter of the Gaza population, more than half a million people, are one step away from famine, according to media reports. 

Chen Xu, China's permanent representative to the UN Office in Geneva and other international organizations in Switzerland, on Thursday elaborated on China's position on the situation between Palestine and Israel at the 55th session of the UN Human Rights Council.

China is calling on Israel to allow humanitarian organizations to have the resources they need to conduct rescue missions in Gaza and to properly enforce the interim measures and directives from the International Court of Justice, Chen said.