Bern, Switzerland (GenevaLunch) - Israel’s ambassador to Switzerland, Ilan Elgar, will meet Thursday in Bern with the Swiss foreign affairs department to discuss a recent visit by a Hamas delegation. Israel’s foreign affairs ministry spokesperson Ygal Palmor 15 July strongly criticized Switzerland for receving the group, which he says visited Geneva two weeks go to meet with an NGO (non-governmental oreganization). He noted that although Switzerland is not a member of the European Union, Hamas is on an EU list of groups banned for terrorist activities.
Micheline Calmy-Rey, Swiss foreign affairs minister, confirmed to public radio RSR that a visit did take place but she would not give details of when, where or why. She pointed out that while Switzerland, unlike some countries, does not maintain a list of banned terrorist groups and that Hamas, no mater what its record, is a key player that must be taken into account in any efforts to reach a Middle East peace settlement.