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Switzerland criticises Israeli occupation of Orient House

Israeli police officers stand guard in the entrance of the Orient House in Jerusalem. Keystone

Switzerland has officially criticised Israel's occupation of the Palestinians' political headquarters in Jerusalem, Orient House. Israel's move was in retaliation for a Palestinian suicide bomb attack that killed 15 people and injured more than 90.

A spokesman for the foreign ministry, Livio Zanolari, described the occupation of Orient House as a “provocation, which does not stimulate any dialogue.”

Zanolari said the foreign ministry sent a letter of protest to the Israeli government on Friday, calling for an end to violence and a return to political dialogue.

The Swiss government on Friday also joined international condemnation of the Palestinian suicide bomb attack in Jerusalem, saying it “vehemently” condemned all forms of terrorism.

Islamic Jihad, the Palestininian militant group, claimed responsibility for the bombing.

Switzerland echoed calls from the US and European nations urging the Palestinians and Israelis to “return to dialogue” and “implement the recommendations of the Mitchell report.”

A Swiss foreign ministry spokesman said the recommendations for peace submitted by American senator George Mitchell was “the only way to stop the dangerous spiral of violence.”

swissinfo with agencies

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR