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China Condemns Israel's Military Moves - 2002-04-02

China's government is using strong language in condemning Israel's military moves into Palestinian territory and in urging Palestinians to stop violent attacks against Israeli civilians.

China's Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Zhang Qiyue called the Israeli incursion into Palestinian territory and labeled the actions against Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat as "barbaric."

In blunt terms, Ms. Zhang condemned Israeli military actions, but also urged the Palestinians to stop "violence against civilians in Israel," a reference to a series of suicide bombings that have taken dozens of Israeli lives in the escalating conflict.

The spokeswoman called the situation in the Middle East "serious" and a "vicious cycle," and urged that all parties implement United Nations Security Council Middle East resolutions. China is one of the five permanent members of the Security Council. Ms. Zhang said the top priority is to get Israel to withdraw from Palestinian territory.

Israeli troops and tanks surrounded Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's headquarters in the town of Ramallah last Friday and he has been trapped inside ever since. Responding to recent terrorist bombings, Israeli forces have also moved into several Palestinian-controlled towns on the West Bank in an effort to seize Palestinian militants and weapons.