Mr. President,

Switzerland thanks the Chinese Presidency for organizing this open debate and for the opportunity to contribute to it. Switzerland is extremely concerned about the ongoing escalation of violence in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

This new cycle of violence must stop immediately. All necessary precautions must be taken to avoid further Israeli and Palestinian civilian casualties. Switzerland reminds all parties of their obligations under international law, in particular international humanitarian law.

The indiscriminate firing of rockets from the Gaza Strip into Israeli territory is contrary to international humanitarian law and must stop. The same applies to breaches by all parties of the principles of distinction, proportionality and precaution in the conduct of hostilities. In the context of the already dramatic humanitarian situation in Gaza, the ongoing Israeli military operation will only contribute to further instability and violent extremism. Civilians, including children, should not be made to pay the price. It is imperative to put an immediate end to the violence, to protect the population as well as the civilian infrastructure, and to allow the necessary access for humanitarian assistance.

Switzerland is also concerned about the escalation of violence in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and in Israel. It calls on all leaders to stop the incitement to violence and to actively engage in immediate de-escalation. Such cycles of violence can only end if the root causes of the conflict, as enshrined in UN resolutions, in particular resolution 2334, are resolved. It is also necessary to work towards a peaceful coexistence between Israelis and Palestinians based on respect for the principle of equality. Switzerland is convinced that only a negotiated two-state solution in accordance with international law and internationally agreed parameters, including UN Security Council resolutions, can lead to a lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians.

Switzerland calls on all actors involved to put an urgent end to this cycle of violence and to do everything possible to conclude a ceasefire as soon as possible, while initiating a process that allows for the root causes of the conflict to be resolved. It remains at the disposal of the parties to facilitate the resumption of a credible dialogue.