Lapid: Israel on verge of becoming international pariah

From the www.monabaker.com archive (legacy material)

Yuval Yoaz, Haaretz Correspondent | Ha'aretz | 19 July 2004

Justice Minister Yosef Lapid warned Sunday that Israel is on the verge of becoming an international pariah and urged the government not to ignore the International Court of Justice. "The Hague court, groups like Amnesty, and United Nations committees, act as a kind of global high court that, while they do not have to be liked, cannot be ignored," said Lapid. International bodies, who are running out of patience for Israel's occupation of the territories, have put Israel under a legal blockade, Lapid said. "If we don't respect human rights in the territories, we'll be putting ourselves in the situation in which South Africa found itself," Lapid said. "People here don't understand that, when Israel ensures that laws and humanitarian criteria are maintained in the territories, it is looking after its own best interests." The first signs of Israel and its citizens being ostracized are already visible, Lapid said, citing the academic world as an example. "In the end, there may even be economic sanctions, Israeli goods may be rejected and we may even be banned from European sporting competitions," Lapid said. Only strict adherence to the rule of law and High Court of Justice rulings will minimize the damage to Israel, Lapid said. A diluted resolution Intensive talks Sunday between the UN ambassadors of European Union member states and the world body's Palestinian observer, Nasser al-Kidwa, may result in a diluted version of a UN General Assembly resolution on the separation fence. Al-Kidwa is intent on obtaining European approval for the resolution, according to diplomats and commentators, and is expected to eventually back down from demands for the inclusion of several operative elements included in the original draft resolution he distributed last week, which aroused fierce European opposition. The Israeli UN mission is leading a diplomatic effort to convince the ambassadors from European Union member states to abstain. The deputy head of the UN mission, Ariyeh Mekel, told Haaretz on Sunday that, as Israel worked to explain its position with regard to the resolution, it will be emphasizing the paradox that, while law and order are sharply deteriorating in the Gaza Strip, the UN General Assembly is voting on a resolution in which the PLO is preaching to the international community to preserve law and order.