Pro-Palestine rally in Geneva draws 300 supporters

Keystone / Martial Trezzini

Around 300 people gathered in Geneva on Saturday to show support for the Palestinian people, as clashes between the Israeli army and Hamas intensify.

This content was published on May 15, 2021 - 17:57

The rally was organised by the group Collectif Urgence Palestine. The demonstrators denounced the Israeli policy against the Palestinians, calling the Israeli state a murderer and a criminal. One speaker referred to the year 1948 when "Nakba" (catastrophe" in Arabic) led to 700,000 Palestinians being driven from their land.

“How long will Israel continue to go unpunished? How long will we have to accept the colonisation of Palestinian territories by Israeli settlers?,” said another speaker as she denounced a policy of apartheid and ethnic cleansing carried out since 1948.

Senator and Social Democrat politician Carlo Sommaruga was also present at the event. He condemned the renewed tension in the region and called for a break with the dominant discourse of the Israeli state.

"Gaza is an open-air prison and we cannot only condemn the violence of Hamas," he said.

A demonstration also took place in the city of Basel. Around 200 people assembled chanting slogans calling for freedom for Palestine. 

Swiss reaction

Switzerland first expressed its concerns about the situation last Sunday, appealing for calm. A statement released by the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) on Wednesday evening reiterated its call on all parties to respect their obligations under international law, in particular international humanitarian law, and to protect the civilian population and infrastructure.

“Switzerland is convinced that only a two-state solution negotiated by both parties in accordance with international law and internationally agreed parameters, including UN Security Council resolutions, can lead to lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians,” the statement continued.

As the conflict intensified, Swiss Foreign Minister Ignazio Cassis called for an immediate end to the violence.

“The escalation of violence in the Middle East must stop immediately. Switzerland calls on all parties to respect International Humanitarian Law. My deepest condolences to the families of the victims,” he said on Twitter on Thursday.

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