640 Swiss artists and cultural actors published a public statement on the 23rd of September condemning the war crimes committed by Israel during its fifty-day-longassault on the Gaza Strip. The statement calls on the Swiss Council to suspend all military cooperation with the Israel, including canceling a recent order ofElbit H-900 military drones, which were tested in Gaza and would are intended to be used by the Swiss intelligence to monitor Switzerland’s own population.
The statement and signatures have been published in print and on the website of the newspaper Le Courrier and can be read here:http://lecourrier.ch/declaration2014. English, Arabic, German, and Italian versions can be accessed at http://culturesuissegaza.over-blog.com/.
Shocked by the acts committed by the Israeli army against the Palestinian population trapped in theGaza Strip, hundreds of personalities from the world of culture request that Switzerland, as a depository state of the Geneva Conventions, convene a meeting of states parties to the IV Convention pertaining to the protection of civilians. Such a meeting would serve as a response to the demand made by State of Palestine officially made July 9, 2014.
On the eve of a new session of the Russell Tribunal on Palestine, a press conference was heldat one of the most important cultural institutions in Switzerland, the Comédie de Genève.
The journalist Gianfranco Fattorini, delegate of the Movement Against Racism and for Friendship between Peoples (MRAP), explained the implications of the public statement.
Dominique Ziegler, an initiator of the Declaration, denounced the participation of several Swiss companies in the development of UAV Elbit H-900. Among the companies involved are public institution like the EcolePolytechniqueFédérale de Lausanne (EPFL / ETH-L) which specializes in compressing images in high definition.
Archaeologist Marc-André Haldimann condemned the damage to the Omari Mosque and other historical sites. The participants denounced the massive bombardment of Gaza and the devastating effect on Palestinian culture and its rich cultural heritage caused by the systematic oppression of the Palestinian people.
The exceptionally high number of signatories this statement received is unprecedented and a reflection of the gravity of the crimes committed by Israel. This act of solidarity with Palestinians by Swiss actors and cultural workers follows in the footsteps of the Swiss artist 2011 declaration of support and call for boycott of Israel and adherence to the Boycott, Divestments, and Sanctions (BDS) principles. (original: http://www.bds-info.ch/index.php/fr/campagnes/bds-international/boycott-culturel-academique/236-declaration-des-artistes-en-suisse English: http://www.bds-info.ch/index.php/fr/campagnes/bds-ch/158-boycott-culturel-academique/254-declaration-of-swiss-artists)
Artists and cultural workers in Switzerland issued the statement as a response to the call for solidarity made last July by the Palestinian group of performing arts organizations.
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The statement as published in newspaper Le Courrier, Geneva can be read here: http://lecourrier.ch/declaration2014
the statement can be viewed in English, Arabic, German and Italian here: http://culturesuissegaza.over-blog.com/
Report on State of Palestine request for a conference of high contracting parties of the fourth Geneva convention
Article on the role of EcolePolytechniqueFédérale de Lausanne in the development of military drones:
"Schweizer Spitzentechnologie soll Israels Kampfdrohnen aufrüsten" SonntagsZeitung, 13 September 2014
Statement by Palestinian performing arts organizations July 17, 2014
Posted on 02-10-2014