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China calls for a new international conference on Palestinian state

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CHINA called for a new international conference on the establishment of an independent Palestinian state as Israel tightened its illegal blockade of the Gaza Strip today.

Foreign minister Wang Yi reaffirmed Beijing’s support for Palestine and said the international community could not allow the right to establish an independent Palestinian state to become a subject of negotiation.

“China will continue to firmly stand for the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with its capital in East Jerusalem, to advocate a larger involvement of Palestine in the international community and to support holding a new international conference on the Palestinian issue,” he told those gathered at the eighth ministerial meeting of the China-Arab States Co-operation Forum (CASCF).

“We cannot allow the Palestinian people to lose hope,” he added.

Chinese President Xi Jinping announced the allocation of $15 million to help Palestine at the CASCF opening ceremony. It aims to provide Palestine with much-needed humanitarian aid and comes after the US withdrew funding for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which provides aid for Palestinian refugees.

The humanitarian crisis in Palestine escalated as Israel tightened the 12-year illegal blockade of Gaza last night, closing the crucial Karam Abu Salem crossing into Israel.

Hamas branded the move “a new crime against humanity” as only urgent aid will be allowed into the besieged Gaza Strip, with items such as clothing, plastics and construction material forbidden.

The Israeli Defence Force claimed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered the closure due to what it asserted was “ongoing arson terror and additional terror attempts,” claiming without evidence that Hamas is responsible.

Mr Netanyahu blamed the flying of kites and balloons containing burning fuel close to the illegal fence constructed by Israel.

Israeli non-governmental organisation Gisha, which promotes freedom of movement for Palestinians, condemned the closure of the crossing.

It said in a statement that “collectively punishing nearly two million people in Gaza by closing its only official crossing for the movement of goods is both illegal and morally depraved.”

United Nations investigations are underway into possible war crimes committed by Israel after more than 130 unarmed civilians were shot dead by Israeli snipers and as many as 15,000 more injured during the Great Return March protests.

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