I will now make a statement in my national capacity. 

I thank Special Coordinator Tor Wennesland for his presentation. We commend his efforts and the role played by Egypt and Qatar in negotiating and then supporting respect of the ceasefire reached on 13 May during the latest hostilities in Gaza and Israel.

The incidents of the past week show that tensions and the risk of violence escalating remain very high. Racist slogans and calls for hatred against Palestinian residents, as well as attacks against journalists are unacceptable. Switzerland calls on the leaders of all parties to refrain from any provocation. The historical status quo on the Haram alSharif/Temple Mount, including Jordan's role as custodian of the Holy

Places, must be respected. Furthermore, Switzerland considers East Jerusalem as occupied territory, whose final status, including as the capital of two states, must be negotiated between the parties.

We call on the parties to do everything possible to achieve a lasting deescalation, in particular by implementing the commitments made in Aqaba and Sharm el-Sheikh that followed the Presidential Declaration adopted by this Council. In this regard, we call on Israel to revoke the order allowing its nationals to settle in Homesh, an outpost that is illegal under international humanitarian law. We also deplore that a Palestinian community had to leave their land in Ein Samia.

Switzerland condemns the deaths of Palestinian civilians, including children, caused by Israeli air strikes on the Gaza Strip two weeks ago. It also condemns the indiscriminate firing of rockets into Israel from Gaza. In the West Bank, more than 100 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces this year, including 19 children. We call on the parties to respect their obligations under international humanitarian law, including the principles of distinction, proportionality and precaution, as well as human rights.

As we heard in the presentation of Ms. Tania Hary, whom I thank, Gaza has been under closure for 16 years. This closure must be lifted. In the immediate term, an easing of restrictions on access and movement of people between Gaza and Israel is essential. Israel, as the occupying power, is obliged under international humanitarian law to ensure, to the fullest extent of the law, that the basic needs of the population are met.

Open crossings must therefore be kept open. 

Finally, UNRWA's funding status is insufficient to cover operations essential to the survival of its beneficiaries. This situation is of concern. We hope that the annual donors' conference in New York in early June will alleviate the financial burden on the Agency. 

The developments of the last few days and weeks, including in the context of the various dates of historical significance, have once again demonstrated the urgency of resuming a credible political process that addresses the root causes of the conflict. Switzerland stands ready, including through its good offices, to facilitate the resumption of a credible dialogue for a negotiated two-state solution, in accordance with international law and internationally agreed parameters, including Security Council resolutions.

Thank you.

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