Swiss Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey, who has caused a stir about herself in the past for such things as her favoritism to Palestinians (including Hamas), clear-cut hostility to Israel and close relations to Iran, has been recalled for these very reasons by the Commission of the Federal Assembly for Foreign Policies. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has to overhaul a one-sided Middle East report against Israel.
The parties involved are the Commission of the Federal Assembly for Foreign Policies (APK) and the Federal Departments of Foreign Affairs (EDA) regarding relations with Israel (see excerpt). One can read of “good relations” between both countries in this excerpt, although Calmy-Rey admits that no political dialog has taken place between Bern and Jerusalem since January 2008. The EDA passes responsibility for the “differing opinions” off to the Jewish State: Bilateral collaboration is being complicated because of the fact “that Israel is not adhering to the rights of the people,” so it says in the confidentially declared paper.
APK politicians, among them CVP (Christian Democratic People’s Party) National Assembly member Reto Wehrli (45, SZ) complained that Israel was being “unilaterally criticized” by Calmy-Rey: “I stand behind the goal of the EDA, that is, the consistent defense of human rights. However, the practice lately is apparently one-sided.” SP (Social Democratic Party) foreign affairs politician Mario Fehr (51, ZH) seconds: “The role of everyone participating in the conflict needs to be critically scrutinized.” Only then can Switzerland once again appear to the Middle East as a fair broker and play a role in the peace process.
Even though the bilateral paper also addresses Switzerland’s relationship with totalitarian countries like Iran, Syria or the Gulf states, the accusation by the SP Assembly member of offenses against peoples’ rights is directed exclusively at Israel. That the regime in Tehran beats down demonstrators is not presented by Calmy-Rey as a burden for bilateral relations.
Calmy-Rey was not personally present at the meeting of the Commission for Foreign Policies, but was spending time abroad, being ever anxious of pleasing the Islamic lords.