The Swiss Times - Swiss News in English

‘Banning Hamas would be a mistake’

  • By The Swiss Times
  • 20 November 2023

Banning Hamas in Switzerland would be a mistake, according to the president of the Swiss-Palestinian parliamentary group. It would harm the country’s long-term interests, according to Carlo Sommaruga.

‘Banning Hamas would be a mistake’
Carlo Sommaruga, SP-GE

If Switzerland were to ban organizations other than those banned by the UN, “we would be opening Pandora’s box”, Sommaruga said in an interview with Le Matin Dimanche. “You are putting yourself at the mercy of pressure from countries that will make the same request, for example Turkey for the PKK.”

This week it became known that Foreign Minister Ignazio Cassis is seeking to ban Hamas by means of a special law. “Unfortunately, Mr. Cassis is bowing to Israel instead of looking at the long-term interests of our country,” said Sommaruga, a member of the SP Council of States from Geneva, in an interview.

Ban would be a “strategic mistake”

Reducing Hamas to a “simple terrorist military organization” would be a strategic mistake, according to Sommaruga. For example, the South African ANC was considered a terrorist organization before negotiations were held with it on the end of apartheid. “In a negotiation, you have to include all actors”, he said, especially as Hamas is “very strongly” integrated into Palestinian society.

Sommaruga also emphasized that Switzerland today has contacts with an Israeli government “in which one member recommends the use of the atomic bomb to destroy the Palestinians”. “Is that a reason to stop talking to this government? No,” he concluded.

©Keystone/SDA

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