Federal Council condemns terrorist attacks by Hamas in Israel and enhances Switzerland's capacity to act
Bern, 11.10.2023 - At its meeting on 11 October 2023, the Federal Council discussed the recent outrageous attacks carried out by Hamas from the Gaza Strip against civilians in Israel. It condemns these terrorist acts in the strongest terms and calls for the immediate release of the hostages held by Hamas. In view of the situation, Switzerland must be able to act effectively and in a coordinated fashion. To this end, the Federal Council has decided to expand the task force set up by the FDFA, and convert it into a Federal Council task force. The Federal Council takes the stance that Hamas should be considered a terrorist organisation.
The Federal Council condemns the terrorist acts carried out by Hamas from the Gaza Strip against civilians in Israel in the strongest possible terms and recognises Israel's legitimate concern for national defence and security. It calls for the immediate release of everyone who has been taken hostage by Hamas. The Federal Council calls for an immediate end to the violence and stresses that the civilian population must be protected and international humanitarian law respected at all times. It expresses its solidarity with the Israeli people and offers its deepest condolences to the families of all the victims.
In order to ensure effective and concerted action, the Federal Council has decided to expand the Middle East Task Force (METF) established by the FDFA and convert it into a Federal Council task force. The METF is led by the FDFA and also comprises representatives of the Federal Department of Home Affairs, the Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sport, the Federal Department of Justice and Police, and the Federal Chancellery. The METF is tasked with carrying out analyses to ensure coordinated decision-making in the context of events in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory. The Federal Council takes the stance that Hamas should be designated as a terrorist organisation. It has tasked the METF to examine the legal options to this end.
The Federal Council also considers it a matter of the utmost importance that Switzerland's financial support should be put to appropriate use. In the past, the FDFA has verified the use of funds provided by Switzerland to NGOs in the Middle East and taken appropriate measures when necessary. At present, it has no indication that any Swiss funds have benefited Hamas and its activities. The FDFA will carry out a fresh, in-depth analysis of all financial flows linked to the cooperation programme in the Middle East.
Furthermore, the Federal Council stresses that the security of citizens of the Jewish faith and Jewish institutions in Switzerland is of paramount importance.
Finally, Switzerland is ready to offer support to all efforts in the region to de-escalate the conflict.
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