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Abbas calls on Swiss for human rights summit

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Abbas calls on Swiss for human rights summit
Mahmoud Abbas shakes hands with Didier Burkhalter during his official visit to Switzerland in 2012. Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP
13:37 CEST+02:00
The Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has asked Swiss President Didier Burkhalter to organize an urgent conference regarding the current deadly conflict in the Middle East.

On July 9th Abbas wrote to Burkhalter, who is also the Swiss foreign affairs minister, to call upon the signatories of the Geneva Conventions to discuss the situation in Gaza, according to Zurich newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung.

Burkhalter is currently considering his response, said the paper.

Switzerland is the caretaker of the Geneva Conventions, which aim to protect the rights of civilians, prisoners of war and medical personnel during conflict situations.

According to Palestine, which only became a member of the Conventions and its protocols in April this year, the terms of the agreement are being breeched by Israel’s current military action in the Gaza strip.

An emergency meeting of the signatories of the Conventions would allow Abbas to put pressure on Israel, said the paper.

Some 250 Palestinians have died since Israel launched Operation Protective Shield on July 8th to stamp out rocket fire by militants in Gaza.

On Thursday Israel began a ground offensive targeting the Hamas tunnel network that crosses into Israeli territory.

The first Israeli soldier died last night in the north of Gaza.

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