Madam President,

I would like to thank the Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Mr Tor Wennesland, for his detailed presentation, and take good note of Mr James Zogby's briefing.

As we have just heard, June was once again marked by a very high level of violence in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

Switzerland reiterates that the settlements are illegal under international law. They are also a major obstacle to a peace based on a two-state solution, as also noted in Resolution 2334 of this Council. Israel is obliged not to take any measures that would introduce permanent changes, in particular demographic and administrative changes, in the occupied territory. In this respect, Switzerland calls on Israel to renounce the change in the approval procedure for construction in the settlements of 18 June and the construction of more than 5,500 new housing units in the settlements.

Following the operation carried out on Monday 19 June by the Israeli security forces in the Jenin refugee camp, which claimed the lives of seven Palestinians, including two children, and left nearly 100 injured, we would like to recall the obligations of the Israeli authorities of under international law. In particular, the use of force must meet the criterion of proportionality and respect every individual's right to life and security of person.

The use of a combat helicopter in Jenin during this recent operation and the targeted assassination by drone on Wednesday evening mark a worrying escalation.

Switzerland condemns the acts of violence perpetrated in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, in particular the attack that claimed the lives of four Israelis near the Eli settlement on 20 June, including two minors. Switzerland also condemns the violence perpetrated this week by hundreds of armed settlers across the West Bank in retaliation, notably in Turmus Aya, where it cost the life of a Palestinian and caused damage to the property of Palestinian residents. We call for those responsible for such attacks to be held accountable. In this respect, we have taken note of the denunciation of these acts by the Israeli armed forces and call for it to be followed by concrete measures. The Israeli armed forces must assume their responsibility by protecting the Palestinian population from such attacks.

Madam President,

The escalation of violence in the Occupied Palestinian Territory is alarming. The year 2023 followed on from the previous year, with 126 civilians killed, including 35 children. The death of a two-year-old child from injuries sustained during an Israeli operation in Nabi Saleh on 5 June was a reminder that children are all too often the victims of this conflict. They should never be the target of violence or put in danger.

Last February, this Security Council adopted a Presidential Statement calling on the parties to create the conditions necessary for peace. The meetings in Aqaba and Sharm el-Sheikh last spring had temporarily enabled a dialogue to be resumed with a view to reducing tensions.

Switzerland supports the efforts made in the wake of this Presidential Declaration. It urgently calls on the leaders of all parties to work towards de-escalation and the resumption of real talks addressing the root causes of the conflict.

Switzerland is ready, including with its good offices, to support such efforts aimed at restoring a political horizon based on a two-state solution.

Thank you very much.

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