Swiss oppose Israel’s threat to annex West Bank

There are more than 200 Israeli settlements in the disputed West Bank territory. Keystone / Alaa Badarneh

Switzerland has condemned the planned annexation of parts of the West Bank by Israel as a violation of international law. Swiss president Simonetta Sommaruga urged her Israeli counterpart to rethink the plan and instead allow Switzerland to broker new peace talks.

This content was published on July 2, 2020 - 16:04

Sommaruga, who this year holds the rotating Swiss presidency, telephoned both Israeli President Reuven Rivlin and the Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas this week.

Tensions have been heightened in the volatile region in recent weeks by Israeli threats to annex swathes of the West Bank region, which is claimed by the Palestinians as their territory but is currently controlled by the Israeli military.

“Switzerland is concerned that such a move will lead to violent reactions and destabilise the region,” read a Swiss government statement on Thursday. Sommaruga said Switzerland would refuse to recognise any territorial changes to the region that were not agreed upon by both sides.

Switzerland reiterated its desire for peace in the region based on a two-state solution backed by international law and UN resolutions. In November, the Alpine nation said the over 200 Israeli settlements in the West Bank were illegal and an obstacle to peace in the Middle East.

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu raised the prospect of the West Bank annexation shortly after being sworn into office in May. He initially suggested the process would start at the beginning of July, but the plan appears to have been stalled by both international and domestic opposition.

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