Telephone calls between President Sommaruga and leaders of Israel and the Palestinian Territory

Bern, 02.07.2020 - President Simonetta Sommaruga has held further talks in recent days as part of her intensive ongoing round of telephone diplomacy. The main topic addressed during the phone calls with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin and Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas was current developments in the Middle East conflict.

The conversation with President Rivlin took place on Thursday, 2 July, that with President Abbas on Monday, 29 June. The main subject during both calls was the intention announced by Israel to annex parts of the West Bank. Switzerland is concerned that such a step would lead to violent reactions and destabilise the region.

Ms Sommaruga stressed to President Rivlin that an annexation of parts of the West Bank was not compatible with international law. Furthermore, it would impede a return to the negotiating table on the Middle East conflict. She reiterated that Switzerland’s involvement in efforts towards a fair and lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians was based on a two-state solution – based on international law and the corresponding UN resolutions. She declared that Switzerland would not recognise a change unless it was the result of a negotiated settlement between the parties.

During both calls, Ms Sommaruga reiterated Switzerland’s willingness to contribute towards the resumption of talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Switzerland is glad to offer its good offices.

In addition to discussing the Middle East conflict, Ms Sommaruga also addressed the situation regarding the COVID-19 pandemic in their respective countries with President Rivlin and with President Abbas. Switzerland has expanded its humanitarian aid to the Palestinians in partnership with the UN, the EU and Norway to mitigate the impact of the pandemic. In a further programme, Switzerland supports the creation of jobs in Gaza.

There are regular exchanges with Israel on medical matters related to the COVID-19 crisis, particularly in terms of cooperation between start-ups in both countries. With regard to the Middle East conflict, Ms Sommaruga also spoke with King Abdullah II of Jordan on 18 June.

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