Mr. President,

Thank you for organizing this meeting. We also thank Special Coordinator Tor Wennesland for his presentation.

The situation in Israel and throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory, and the rising tensions along the Blue Line, are alarming. This Council's commitment to ensuring that all parties respect international law, including international humanitarian law and human rights, aims at avoiding an even more serious regionalization of the conflict.

In the West Bank, attacks, threats and intimidation by Israeli settlers against the Palestinian population, including East Jerusalem, continue with virtual impunity. Switzerland condemns these attacks, in which the number of civilian victims was already reaching record levels before 7 October 2023, and has since increased significantly. These attacks must stop.

Resolution 2334 calls for "immediate steps to prevent all acts of violence against civilians, including acts of terror, provocation and destruction". Allegations of disproportionate use of force and acts of violence against civilians must be investigated and those responsible brought to justice. Switzerland recalls Israel's obligations as an occupying power under international law, including that of protecting the civilian population.

Switzerland also points out that the Israeli settlements are illegal under international humanitarian law and, according to Resolution 2334, constitute a "major obstacle to the achievement of the two-State solution and the establishment of a just, lasting and comprehensive peace". Recurrent announcements by Israeli leaders and measures to expand them contribute to the escalation and must be stopped.

In this respect, Switzerland notes with concern recent Israeli decisions to transfer the management of settlers' civil affairs in the West Bank to the Israeli civil administration. In accordance with international humanitarian law, Israel must refrain from taking measures that would introduce permanent changes, in particular demographic and administrative changes, in the occupied territory. 

In Resolution 2730, this Council reaffirmed the responsibility of States and parties to conflicts to respect and protect the civilian population, including humanitarian personnel. Infrastructure and property used for humanitarian relief operations, as well as convoys, must also be respected and protected. This includes UNRWA premises, including in East Jerusalem, as well as ICRC premises.

Mr. President,

When resolution 2735 was adopted on 10 June, Switzerland emphasized that it represents the best chance of ending the appalling conflict that has claimed tens of thousands of victims since Hamas's acts of terror on 7 October, which we strongly condemned.

Despite the four resolutions adopted by this Council, hostilities in the Gaza Strip continue to expose hundreds of thousands of civilians, including a very large number of children, to danger, forced displacement and an increased risk of starvation. Similarly, dozens of hostages remain in captivity in Gaza.

Switzerland reiterates its opposition to the current offensive in Rafah. It recalls all the provisional measures ordered by the International Court of Justice. As these measures are binding on the parties to the proceedings, Switzerland expects Israel to comply with them. We reiterate our call for an immediate ceasefire, to facilitate the safe, rapid and unimpeded delivery of humanitarian aid by all means into the Gaza Strip, and for the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages. Those held captive in connection with the conflict must be able to be visited by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and receive the assistance and protection to which they are entitled.

Finally, this Council must continue to support the two-state solution, which is the only foundation capable of guaranteeing peace between Israelis and Palestinians and stability in the region.

We must help to rebuild - without further delay - this foundation of two democratic states, Israel and Palestine, of which Gaza is an integral part, living side by side, in peace, within secure and recognised borders.

Thank you.

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