Mr. President, 

I would like to start by thanking Special Coordinator Tor Wennesland for his presentation.

Before returning to the situation in the West Bank, I would like to welcome the adoption yesterday, on Monday March 25, of resolution 2728, which "calls for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire during the month of Ramadan, respected by all parties, leading to a lasting sustainable ceasefire in Gaza". 

Yesterday, it was high time to restore the international community's confidence in this Council's ability to act in matters of peace and security. Today, it is time to ensure that the parties to the conflict implement this resolution. If it is to be effective, the immediate ceasefire must lead without delay to a lasting sustainable ceasefire as required by the resolution. At the same time, peace efforts must be stepped up immediately.

Resolution 2728 is based on the parties respecting their obligations under international law, including human rights and international humanitarian law. These obligations include taking concrete steps to protect the civilian population, to facilitate the rapid and unimpeded delivery of humanitarian aid, and to ensure the humane treatment of those 'hors de combat' - people deprived of their freedom, the wounded or the sick. The same applies to the respect and protection of health units, such as hospitals. Furthermore, they must not be attacked or used outside their humanitarian function to commit acts harmful to the enemy.

As early as October 7, we condemned Hamas' acts of terror and the sexual violence that accompanied them, just as strongly as we called for the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages. Their capture and continued captivity also contravene international law, as recalled in Resolution 2728. 

Mr. President, 

The situation in the West Bank reminds us that non-compliance with the resolutions of this Council has grave consequences for peace.

As resolution 2334 states, Israeli settlements are: "a major obstacle to the achievement of the two-State solution and a just, lasting and comprehensive peace". They are illegal under international humanitarian law. Recent announcements by Israeli leaders to expand them continue to undermine the search for peace. In this respect, we condemn the announcement to confiscate over 800 hectares of land in the occupied territory. As we pointed out in our submission to the International Court of Justice in the Advisory Opinion on the Legal Consequences of the Israeli Occupation, "the measures taken by Israel in the Occupied Palestinian Territory are bringing about fundamental changes, in particular demographic changes, which may assume a permanent character", which is "contrary to the principles governing the law of occupation."

Particularly alarming is the lack of protection for Palestinians from settler attacks, threats and intimidation. These acts of violence have reached record levels in recent years, levels, that have even been surpassed since October 7, according to what we have just heard from the Special Coordinator. Switzerland condemns these attacks, which together with the construction of settlements contribute to the creation of a coercive environment and lead to the forced displacement of Palestinian communities.

Mr. President, 

On the occasion of the month of Ramadan, we take note of the work of the competent authorities to minimize tensions around the holy sites. We call for the status quo on the Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount and Jordan's role as guardian to be respected.

Switzerland remains convinced that the two-state solution, in accordance with international law and internationally agreed parameters, is the only possible foundation for both Israelis and Palestinians to live in lasting peace, security and dignity. The implementation of this Council's resolutions, notably 2334 and 2728, is indispensable to this end.

Thank you.


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