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Israel-Palestine relations Israel should play economic card, urges Swiss foreign minister

Burkhalter said an end to settlement building in the West Bank and East Jerusalem was necessary to create a conducive environment for negotiations

(Keystone)

At the Paris peace conference on Sunday, Didier Burkhalter called upon Israel to promote the flow of goods and people between Gaza, Israel and the West Bank as a means to promote peace in the region. 

Burkhalter participated in an international conference on the near east in Paris that was attended by 70 foreign ministers and representatives of organisations like the UN, the EU and the Arab League. However, no representatives from either Israel or Palestine were present. 

“It is by fighting unemployment that affects 50% of the people in Gaza that we can reconstruct prospects,” said Burkhalter in a statement released on Sunday. He also called upon Palestinians to strengthen the democratic space and confidence in institutions and “not only wait for local and general elections”. 

The foreign minister also reiterated the need for both countries to rebuild confidence in each other and work to promote a two state solution. He spoke frankly of the conditions needed to achieve this. For Israel “it is a question of ending its pursuit of settlement building in the West Bank and East Jerusalem” while Palestinian leaders could restart the peace process by “taking a firm stand against incitement to violence”, he said.

swissinfo.ch/a.c

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