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Israeli ambassador criticises Switzerland

The Israeli ambassador in Bern, Ilan Elgar, has accused Switzerland of siding against his country by supporting a special session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva.

This content was published on January 11, 2009 - 14:18

The Swiss foreign ministry rejected Elgar's comments, saying Switzerland's reaction to the events in the Middle East has been "balanced". It pointed out that it had criticised Hamas's rocket attacks on Israel in addition to condemning the Israeli reaction as "disproportionate".

In an interview with a Sunday newspaper, Elgar said of the 32 countries – out of 47 – to back the motion, Switzerland was the only Western country to do so. "I find that very problematic," he said.

He also had a problem with a demonstration on Saturday outside the Israeli embassy in Bern. He said there was yet to be a demonstration against the rockets being fired out of Gaza onto Israel because the media weren't reporting "in a balanced way".

In another Sunday newspaper, Anis Al-Kak, member of a Palestinian organisation in Bern, praised Switzerland as being "one of the few European countries that stand on the side of human rights and the Geneva Conventions".

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