"There is a war of interpretation of international law."
(Communicated by the Bureau of Deputy Foreign Minister Ayalon)
Last night, (Sunday, 29th August), Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon welcomed and addressed a large gathering of jurists and lawyers from around the world. The forum was hosted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Ayalon told the 150 jurists that Israel and the international community are facing new challenges. "The law has become a battlefield," the Deputy Foreign Minister told the audience. "There is a war of interpretation of international law."
"Israel’s enemies have embarked on the most wide-ranging delegitimization campaign in history; a campaign designed to undermine Israel’s right to exist, let alone its right to defend itself. This threat has many dimensions, and among the most important is the legal one. This new arena has cleverly been termed ‘lawfare’ – a strategy of using or misusing the law as a means to achieve military or political objectives."
Ayalon gave a few examples, including the Goldstone Report, but also talked about an even more glaring example. "The war of 1948, imposed by the Arab states on Israel, resulted in two refugee problems, one Jewish and one Arab," Ayalon said. "Yet the world acknowledges only the Palestinian refugee problem, while denying justice to Jewish refugees from Arab countries."
"This despite the established record of UN resolutions and statements by world leaders calling for the resolution of the refugee issue, with no distinction made between Arab and Jewish, including United Nations Security Council Resolution 242 and the President Clinton parameters. Over the decades, the Arab propaganda machine virtually wiped out any notion of a Jewish refugee problem, undermining the rights of Jewish refugees from Arab countries, who today, together with their descendants, are the majority of Israel’s Jewish population."
The Deputy Foreign Minister explained what is needed to fight back. "In combating the delegitimization campaign, we find ourselves confronting a formidable alliance of extremist groups, terrorist organizations, and cynical activists prepared to undermine the intent and credibility of international law and human rights principles for political goals," Ayalon said. "Against this alliance, we need to build an alliance of our own. We need a coalition of people of good will, who care about law, truth, human rights and the future of democracy."