The UN Security Council today once again discussed the situation in the Middle East. Switzerland is extremely concerned about the spiral of violence which reached a new level last weekend.

Switzerland strongly condemns the Israeli attack on a camp for displaced persons in Rafah on 26 May. According to the UN, this attack resulted in dozens of civilian casualties. The population of Gaza is in dire need of protection, having already been displaced, facing the threat of famine and continuing to suffer from the hostilities. Switzerland also strongly condemns the continued and indiscriminate rocket attacks by Hamas on Israel, as was the case on 26 May. Such attacks are a violation of international humanitarian law. It has underlined this in the Security Council.

In this context, Switzerland recalled in New York that all parties must comply with their obligations under international humanitarian law. They must observe the principle of distinction without exception and take precautionary measures to protect the civilian population and prevent damage to civilian objects. Switzerland reiterated to the Council its call for an immediate ceasefire, safe and unhindered humanitarian access and the immediate and unconditional release of hostages.

Switzerland also addressed the Security Council on the situation in the West Bank. It condemned the violence perpetrated by Israeli settlers, including repeated attacks on UN facilities in East Jerusalem and on humanitarian aid convoys.

Respect for international humanitarian law by all parties, as well as the implementation of UN Security Council resolutions and the preventive measures of the International Court of Justice, are prerequisites for de-escalation. Switzerland remains firmly convinced that only a negotiated two-state solution, in which Israel and Palestine live side by side in peace and security within recognized borders, is the basis for lasting peace in the Middle East.