oPt

The situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories

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The Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) expresses its serious concern regarding the severity of the military operations conducted by Israeli forces in the occupied territories.
According to information from B'tselem, an Israeli organistion for the defence of human rights in the occupied territories, these operations have caused more than 170 deaths and 700 persons wounded among the Palestinian population since the beginning of the year. The recent events in the Jabaliya refugee camp in the night of Wednesday to Thursday merely illustrate this policy. Switzerland addresses its condolences to the families of the victims and to the Palestinian Authority.

The DFA is particularly concerned about the means used in the confrontations between Israelis and Palestinians and calls on the parties to respect the applicable standards of international humanitarian law, particularly with regard to the civilian population. Regardless of Israel's right to ensure the security of its citizens, the DFA wishes to recall the obligations incumbent upon it as the Occupying Power and as a High Contracting Party to the Geneva Conventions. International humanitarian law stipulates that a distinction be made between combatants and civilians, that only military objectives may be attacked, and that the use of force must be proportionate. A refugee camp may not be considered a battlefield any more than another inhabited place.

The Federal Department of Foreign Affairs appeals to the parties involved to do everything within their power to end the violence and to resume the path of dialogue and negotiation.