Swiss legislators want to label Hamas a terrorist organisation
Swiss legislators have called on the government to label Hamas a terrorist organisation as the traditionally neutral country ponders a change in its Middle-East policy.
So far, Switzerland — unlike other European countries — has not given the Palestinian group such a classification. The Security Policy Committee of Parliament’s Lower House on Tuesday voted unanimously to change that stance, the body’s president Mauro Tuena told Bloomberg.
“We demand that Hamas be recognized as a terrorist organisation and that the group be banned in Switzerland,” he said. “We want to target its money flows and enable security agencies to surveil people who work for Hamas in this country.”
If named a terrorist organisation, Swiss banks would be obliged to report transactions related to Hamas. This could essentially cut off the group from Switzerland’s financial system and threaten its funding.
While it’s unclear whether the government, set to meet on Wednesday, will back the motion, Swiss Foreign Minister Ignazio Cassis has previously voiced concern that international aid for Palestinians may end up supporting militant organisations.
On Monday, he said that “Switzerland stands in solidarity with the Israeli people”.
Before Switzerland’s position on Hamas can be changed officially, a vote of the full parliament is required, which only assembles again in December. Still, in the Swiss system, committee votes like Tuesday’s often set the roadmap for future decisions.
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