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China ‘shocked, strongly condemns’ attack on aid-seekers in Gaza

March 1, 2024 at 2:50 pm

A screen grab captured from a video shows Israeli forces targeting Palestinians, surrounding humanitarian aid trucks, as Israeli soldiers receive them as a threat and open fire on the crowd in Gaza City, Gaza on February 29, 2024. [Stringer – Anadolu Agency]

China, on Friday, expressed “shock” and “strongly” condemned Thursday’s attack on beleaguered Palestinians who were seeking aid in the besieged enclave of Gaza, Anadolu Agency reports.

“We mourn for the victims and extend sympathies to the injured,” said Mao Ning, spokeswoman of China’s Foreign Ministry, in response to a question by Anadolu.

“China urges parties concerned, especially Israel, to stop fighting at once, earnestly protect civilians and ensure access for humanitarian assistance to prevent an even worse humanitarian disaster from happening,” Mao told reporters in Beijing.

Israeli forces opened fire on a crowd of Palestinians waiting for humanitarian aid at the Al Nabulsi roundabout on Al Rashid Street, a major coastal road to the west of Gaza City in northern Gaza, leaving at least 112 Palestinians dead and 760 injured on Thursday.

To a question by Anadolu on reports that the US blocked a UN Security Council statement over the killing of civilians who were waiting for aid in Gaza, Mao said: “Gaza is suffering from unprecedented humanitarian disaster and the Security Council must adopt actions as soon as possible to realise a ceasefire.”

READ: Oxfam ‘appalled’ at killing of Palestinian civilians awaiting aid in Gaza City

“Relevant major countries need to truly uphold a just and responsible attitude, and earnestly play a constructive role for an immediate ceasefire,” she said.

Mao said Beijing will “continue to work with all sides in the international community to galvanise responsible and meaningful Security Council action and make relentless efforts to work for an early ceasefire in Gaza, ease the humanitarian situation there, implement the two-State solution and realise lasting peace and security in the Middle East.”

More reactions

Thursday’s attack on Palestinians also drew reactions from other nations in Asia.

“Strongly condemning” the attack by the Israeli forces, Pakistan said: “This massacre demonstrates a blatant disregard for civility and international humanitarian law and Israel’s deliberate and inhumane policy of mass starvation.”

The Indian Foreign Ministry expressed “deep shock” over the attack and said: “Such loss of civilian lives and the larger humanitarian situation in Gaza continues to be a cause for extreme concern.”

“We reiterate our call for safe and timely delivery of humanitarian aid and assistance,” it added.

Australian Foreign Minister, Penny Wong, said Canberra was “horrified” by the attack on malnourished Palestinian civilians and the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

“Civilians must be protected. Humanitarian aid must reach civilians in desperate need,” Wong said, indicating that Canberra conveyed its concern to the Israeli envoy through her Ministry.

“These events underscore why, for months, Australia has been calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza,” she said.

Wong added that the government will announce more aid for Gaza in the coming days.

Israel has launched a deadly military offensive on the Gaza Strip since a 7 October, 2023 attack by the Palestinian group, Hamas, which Tel Aviv says killed nearly 1,200 people.

However, since then, it has been revealed by Haaretz that helicopters and tanks of the Israeli army had, in fact, killed many of the 1,139 soldiers and civilians claimed by Israel to have been killed by the Palestinian Resistance.

At least 30,035 Palestinians have since been killed and 70,457 others injured amid mass destruction and shortages of necessities.

Israel has also imposed a crippling blockade on the Gaza Strip, leaving its population, particularly residents of northern Gaza, on the verge of starvation.

The Israeli war has pushed 85 per cent of Gaza’s population into internal displacement amid acute shortages of food, clean water and medicine, while 60 per cent of the enclave’s infrastructure has been damaged or destroyed, according to the UN.

Israel stands accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice. An interim ruling in January ordered Tel Aviv to stop genocidal acts and take measures to guarantee that humanitarian assistance is provided to civilians in Gaza.

READ: Algeria calls for urgent UN Security Council meeting after strike on Gazans awaiting aid