BEIJING, May 17 (Xinhua) -- Tears in scared children's eyes, destroyed communities and thousands of refugees packed in make-shift camps ... the suffering of civilians in the Gaza Strip is now testing the effectiveness of multilateral cooperation on the Middle East peace process and questioning the conscience of humanity.
The most severe conflict between Israel and Palestine since 2014 has entered the second week with heavy casualties. Among over 200 deaths, the majority are innocent civilians, including children.
Truce is now the most pressing issue and a top priority in the region as the bloodshed has turned thousands of civilians into refugees seeking for inadequate shelters, and is risking peaceful coexistence of Jews and Muslims in other parts of the world.
The exchange of violence is forcing the deadlock of the peace process between Israel and Palestine further to a dead end.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said at the Sunday meeting of the UN Security Council (UNSC) that the escalation in violence in Gaza "only perpetuates the cycles of death, destruction and despair, and pushes farther to the horizon any hopes of coexistence and peace."
"Fighting must stop. It must stop immediately. Rockets and mortars on one side and aerial and artillery bombardments on the other must stop," the UN chief said.
It has proved in history that tit-for-tat attacks only deepen hatred and nurture revenge. To really protect their people, forces of Israel and Palestine should both stop military and hostile actions, including airstrikes, ground offensives and rocket launches.
Israel, which has the upper hand with more advanced weaponry and much fewer casualties, must exercise restraint in particular. It should conform to the UN resolutions, stop destroying houses and expelling people of Palestine, halt expansion of Israeli settlements, avoid anti-Muslim violence, threats and provocations, and respect the historical status quo at holy sites of Jerusalem.
Meanwhile, the Palestinian side should also avoid actions that worsen the situation, stop retaliatory rocket launches, try not to hurt civilians and join in the efforts to deescalate the tension.
The double scourge of military conflicts and the COVID-19 pandemic has created worrisome humanitarian crises in the densely populated communities in and around Gaza.
To avoid a humanitarian catastrophe, Israel must fulfill its obligations proposed by relevant UN resolutions, completely lift its lockdown in the Gaza Strip, ensure the safety and legal rights of Palestinians in the occupied territories, and facilitate the entrance of humanitarian assistance.
China has been consistent in promoting the peace process in the Middle East, has adhered to fairness and justice, and is ready to support all efforts that help to ease the tension.
As the rotating presidency of the UNSC for May, China has made it a top priority to tackle the Palestine-Israel conflict and pushed the UNSC to deliberate on the Palestinian issue many times.
All the concerned parties should unite on the side of justice and peace, and the right side of history, and shoulder their due responsibilities. The international community should practice true multilateralism, push for a comprehensive, fair and sustainable solution to the Palestinian issue at an early date.