The Security Council met today for closed consultations on the situation in the Middle East. Switzerland condemned the shocking attacks, including acts of terror and rocket fire by Hamas against Israel. It called for the immediate release of those taken hostage who are currently being held in Gaza. It also deplored all civilian casualties and called on all parties to protect the civilian population and to respect the obligations of international humanitarian law. Switzerland underlined that de-escalation is the priority. It called on those responsible to do everything possible to bring about a ceasefire and avoid a regional escalation. It made this call also to those States that can exert influence on the parties involved.