JERUSALEM, Dec. 20 (Xinhua) -- Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi has urged Israelis and Palestinians from all walks of life to forge consensus on peace and lend support for the ongoing Israeli- Palestinian peace talks.
Wang made the appeal late Thursday at a peace forum co- sponsored by the Chinese Embassy in Israel and the Chinese Office to the Palestinian National Authority. The event brought together some 20 Palestinian and Israeli experts.
Wang, who concluded his three-day visit to Palestine and Israel Friday afternoon, told the gathering that the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks have reached a critical juncture, which calls for people from both sides to form consensus and jointly support the peace process.
The fact that Israeli and Palestinian pacifists gathered together is of great significance, the Chinese foreign minister said, adding that although the views of the two sides are not completely identical, they share the desire for peace and all support the peace talks.
Peace in the Middle East would be secure when Palestine becomes an independent state and co-exist peacefully with the state of Israel, Wang said.
Adnan Samara, head of the Palestinian-Chinese Friendship Association, told the forum that it is critical for Palestine and Israel to recognize each other and end the long-running conflict. The current state of the Palestinian-Israeli relations is unsustainable.
The Palestinian side supports the "two-state solution" and demands the establishment of a fully independent state of Palestine, he added.
William Shomali, Vicar General of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, said it is of utmost importance for the Israelis and Palestinians to meet each other's legitimate concerns -- the Palestinians should respect Israel's security concerns while Israel should end occupation as soon as possible.
Dr. Sameeh Al-Abd, professor of Palestine's Birzeit University, said China, a major power with vital influence in the world, enjoys good relations with both Palestine and Israel, and supports the realization of peace and stability in the Middle East at an early date.
He hoped that China will continue to play an active role in promoting peace and dialogue between the Palestinians and Israelis.
Dore Gold, president of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, said the Palestinian-Israeli conflict should be resolved through dialogue, which is in the common interest of both sides.
Professor Yitzhak Reiter of Hebrew University in Jerusalem echoed Gold's view, calling on the Israelis and Palestinians to press ahead with their peace talks.
Dialogue is the right direction to resolving the Palestinian- Israeli issue and only by sticking to dialogue and showing goodwill to each other can the two sides find a solution to the issue, Reiter said.
The huge gap between the Israelis and Palestinians would be bridged only when Arab countries play a role and world powers such as China, the United States and the European Union offer the two sides strong support, he added.
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Israel is willing to incorporate its expertise in science and technology with China's huge market and adequate funding in order to double bilateral trade volume, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said here Wednesday before his meeting with visiting Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi. Full story