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Switzerland calls on Israel not to use disproportionate force

The escalation of violence in the Middle East has prompted Switzerland to call on Israel to tone down its use of force


The Swiss government has called on the Israeli government not to overdo the use of force against the Palestinians.

A spokeswoman for the Swiss foreign ministry said on Thursday that Switzerland was "extremely worried" about the Israeli attacks in the Palestinian territories.

Monika Schmutz said the Israelis should pull back from "using a disproportionate amount of force".

She said the Swiss leadership was calling on both sides to "do everything possible to stop the violence against civilians and punish those responsible".

Earlier, the Israeli prime minister, Ehud Barak, said Israel had the impression that the Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat, no longer wanted to be a partner for peace.

Barak called for a national emergency government to deal with the upsurge in bloodshed.

During the course of the day, the Israeli defence force launched attacks on the West Bank town of Ramallah and Gaza City, in retaliation for the deaths of two Israeli soldiers who were lynched by a Palestinian mob.

Palestinian officials said the Israeli attacks were a declaration of war.

swissinfo with agencies

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