Israel training lawyers around world to deal with delegitimization (ISRAEL HAYOM) Shlomo Cesana and Israel Hayom Staff 06/19/12)
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New Foreign Ministry initiative aims to equip lawyers friendly to
Israel with tools to counteract delegitimization by Palestinians in
courtrooms • Initiative comes after pro-Palestinian groups seek
international arrest warrants for Israeli officials.
Israeli foreign ministry officials have been training lawyers and
jurists from around the world to confront legal claims against
Israel, Israel Hayom has learned.
For years, pro-Palestinian individuals and organizations have tried
to defeat Israel with lawsuits, boycotts and by adding a legal
dimension to the political conflict. One of the main methods behind
these efforts has been applications for arrest warrants for senior
Israeli officials travelling abroad, under the principle of universal
jurisdiction. Several senior defense officials and Israeli
politicians have been targeted in recent years, especially in the UK.
In December 2009, a London court issued an arrest warrant for former
opposition leader and Kadima leader Tzipi Livni, following an
application by a lawyer acting on behalf of Palestinians who claimed
they were victims of Operation Cast Lead.
Until now, Israel has dealt with the issue by working directly with
foreign governments to try to close loopholes in the law allowing the
issuing of arrest warrants under universal jurisdiction. This was the
case, for example, in the U.K., where the British parliament
eventually passed legislation last year requiring the director of
public prosecutions to give his approval to any private requests for
prosecution for war crimes initiated in British courts. The new
legislation was aimed at preventing British courts from being used
for political purposes.
Now, a new initiative by the Foreign Ministry is working to train
lawyers around the world how to handle delegitimization claims
brought before their local courts.
The Foreign Ministry has arranged organized briefings for lawyers
considered friendly to Israel, in which it presents examples and
background information on delegitimization attempts by Palestinians,
and provides tools and recommendations to counteract such attempts.
Until recently, these training sessions and conferences have been
held under the radar.
There have already been conferences with lawyers in New York and Sao
Paulo, and this week two more conferences are expected to take place
in London and Paris.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu´s envoy on special issues, attorney
Yitzhak Molho is set to attend the conference in London, while Deputy
Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon is scheduled to be at the session in
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