Israeli foreign minister pressures Switzerland over war crimes legislation

Israeli foreign minister pressures Switzerland over war crimes legislation
Israel’s Foreign Minister Yisrael Katz visited Switzerland accompanied by a legal team to press for the repeal of legislation that could see Israeli officials arrested for war crimes against Palestinians.
2 min read
03 September, 2019
Yisrael Katz said that Israel will not tolerate “denial of its right to self-defence” [Getty]

Israeli Foreign Minister Yisrael Katz has visited Switzerland in order to "find a solution" to Swiss laws which allow Israeli politicians and military officers to be arrested for war crimes, Israeli media reported today.

Katz, who was accompanied by a legal team, held talks with his Swiss counterpart Ignazio Cassis and was due to meet Swiss President Ueli Maurer.

According to the Israeli news website YNet Katz "clarified that the State of Israel will not tolerate any form of denial of its right to self-defence against radical Islamist terror threats or threats to prosecute past or present Israeli leaders and military personnel".

Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert had to cancel a visit to Switzerland in July when he was tipped off that he could be arrested for crimes committed during the 2008-2009 Israeli war against Gaza, which left 1,400 Palestinians dead.

A Palestinian group also filed a complaint against Tzipi Livni, who was foreign minister at the time of the war, but this did not stop her visiting Switzerland in 2019 to take part in the World Economic Forum in Davos

Israeli and Swiss journalists were also meeting to discuss the "problem" of the Swiss war crimes legislation, YNet reported.