Lapid Warns of Apartheid Campaign in 2022

YERUSHALAYIM -
Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

Foreign Minister Yair Lapid warned on Monday that propaganda vilifying Israel as an apartheid state will likely intensify in 2022, The Times of Israel reported on Monday.

“We think that in the coming year, there will be debate that is unprecedented in its venom and in its radioactivity around the words ‘Israel as an apartheid state,’” Lapid said during a Zoom briefing with Israeli journalists.

“In 2022, it will be a tangible threat,” he predicted.

Lapid cited a number of Palestinian moves against Israel in international forums that he thinks will see apartheid come to the fore in accusations. He mentioned Palestinian campaigns against Israel in the International Criminal Court and the International Court of Justice in The Hague, and the U.N. Human Rights Council’s establishment of a permanent “Commission of Inquiry” into Israel’s treatment of Palestinians, including Operation Guardian of the Walls, the 11 days of fighting with Hamas, in May 2021.

“The commission of inquiry into Guardian of the Walls is unprecedented because it doesn’t have a time limit, it doesn’t have a limit of scope, and it is well-funded with many people working on it,” Lapid noted.

He said that the COI has a budget of $5.5 million with 18 staffers. By contrast, the COI looking into the Syrian Civil War has an annual budget of about $2.5 million and 12 staffers. That, he said, “shows where it is heading.”

Lapid called the accusation of apartheid “a despicable lie.”

Israel has long rejected such accusations, pointing out that its Arab minority enjoys full civil rights, including voting rights and representation in the Knesset. In addition, the Islamist Ra’am party is currently a member of the governing coalition.