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26 January 2006
The DFA is pleased of the well conducted Palestinian parliamentary elections. It appeals to all parties to renounce violence and to respect the law
The DFA is pleased of the well conducted parliamentary elections in the occupied Palestinian territory and that the turnout in this first parliamentary vote since 1996 was high. The DFA would like to pay tribute to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who insisted on the elections being held on the agreed date despite the doubts expressed about whether this would be possible. It notes with satisfaction the measures taken in general by the Israeli authorities to facilitate the safe holding of the elections in accordance with its obligations under international law.
Seven Swiss experts were able to monitor the course of the parliamentary elections in various constituencies of the occupied Palestinian territory as part of the European Union mission. The head of the Swiss group of observers highlighted the order, the good organisation and the motivation of the staff of the polling stations.
After the resignation of the Prime Minister, the victory of Hamas should be confirmed. This victory constitutes an event of major significance. The DFA expresses its expectation that the future Palestinian cabinet will pursue a policy respecting the law and taking into account the interests of the Palestinian people as a whole. Switzerland cooperates with a government which bases its action on dialogue and peaceful means. It underlines that the Palestinian Authority is bound by the commitments that it made under the Oslo Accords. Equally, all the parties to the conflict must fully respect the rules of international law.
Switzerland is present in the occupied Palestinian territory with its humanitarian aid and development co-operation. It works together with international partners and with local NGOs in areas such as the reintegration of prisoners, reform of the educational system and of vocational training, the promotion of democracy, human rights and good governance and the environment. Its activities are based on the needs of the population and on the priorities of the local authorities. Switzerland is also a major donor for UNRWA, which is mandated to assist the Palestinian refugees.
As Switzerland is the depositary state of the Geneva Conventions, the DFA is particularly attentive to compliance with international humanitarian law. In response to a United Nations mandate, Switzerland held consultations last year on the question of compliance with the Geneva Conventions in the occupied Palestinian territory, notably with regard to the wall of separation, and it submitted a report on the subject to the General Assembly. As part of efforts to find a negotiated solution to the Middle East conflict, Switzerland supported a group representing members of Israeli and Palestinian civil society which produced a draft agreement known as the “Geneva Initiative”.