US voices opposition to legalization of outposts (JERUSALEM POST) By TOVAH LAZAROFF 07/10/12)
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The United States on Monday said it opposed any plan to transform
unauthorized outposts into legal settlements.
“We do not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlement
activity and we oppose any effort to legalize outposts,” a US State
Department spokesman, Patrick Ventrell told reporters in Washington.
He spoke on the same day that the Israeli government published a
report by a three member legal panel, known as the outpost committee,
which called for the legalization of those fledgling West Bank Jewish
Its publication comes on the eve of US Deputy Secretary of State
William Burns’ trip to Israel this week along with a delegation that
will hold a strategic dialogue with Israel.
Burns is expected to meet with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and
Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, as part of an
ongoing effort to rekindle the frozen peace talks. His trip will be
followed by a visit from US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
The Palestinian Authority, which on Monday rejected the outpost
report, has insisted that it won’t hold direct negotiations with
Israel until it halts settlement activity and Jewish building in east
Israel has insisted that it has a right to build both in West Bank
settlements and in east Jerusalem.
But until this year it has held to international pledges not to
create new settlements. In April it transformed three outposts —
Bruhin, Rehalim and Sansana — into settlements. At the time it argued
that it was not creating new settlements but rather executing
decisions by past governments.
The outpost report did not overly examine Israel’s diplomatic
pledges, but rather examined the legal arguments internationally and
domestically with respect to settlement activity.
It concluded that since Israel’s activity in the West Bank did not
meet the international legal standards of occupation, there was no
legal barrier to Israeli settlement activity.
In light of this, the report said, Israel could build new settlements
in the West Bank and it urged it to transform the outposts into such
settlements, unless there were private property issues involved.
It also suggested that Israel create a new court to handle such
Its conclusions flew in the face of a 2005 report by attorney Talia
Sasson commissioned by former prime minister Ariel Sharon. Sasson
compiled a list of 105 unauthorized outposts built between 1991 and
2005, arguing they had been illegally constructed and should be taken
Netanyahu on Monday praised the report penned by former Supreme Court
justice Edmond Levy, former Foreign Ministry legal adviser Alan Baker
and former deputy president of the Tel Aviv District Court Tehiya
Shapira. It has already been dubbed the “Levy Report.”
“In my opinion, this report is important because it deals with the
legalization and the legitimization of the settlement enterprise in
Judea and Samaria on the basis of facts, a variety of facts and
arguments that should be seriously considered,” Netanyahu said.
Netanyahu added that the Ministerial Committee on Settlements would
debate and decide the matter. The committee received a copy of the
report on Sunday. It has the full authority to implement the report.
(© 1995-2011, The Jerusalem Post 07/10/12)
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