C´tee to debate legalizing outposts in wake of report (JERUSALEM POST) By TOVAH LAZAROFF, LAHAV HARKOV 07/10/12)
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Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Monday praised a new government-
initiated report calling for the legalization of West Bank outposts,
but stopped short of pledging to transform the unauthorized Jewish
communities into new settlements.
“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,” he said.
Netanyahu added that the Ministerial Committee on Settlements would
debate and decide the matter. The committee has the full authority to
implement the report.
Right-wing politicians immediately hailed the document, which
provided a legal argument in support of authorizing illegal Jewish
construction in the West Bank on state land. It also called for the
creation of a new court to adjudicate land disputes regarding Jewish
building on private Palestinian property.
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 was released
publicly on Monday and given to members of the Ministerial Committee
on Settlements on Sunday. It has already been dubbed the “Levy
“The report restores historical justice to thousands of families in
Judea and Samaria [that live in outposts] who have been harmed over
the years,” said Transportation Minister Israel Katz (Likud).
Left-wing politicians such as MK Zehava Gal-On (Meretz) slammed the
report, saying that the committee was formed only to “justify the
vermin of illegal outposts after the High Court and the attorney-
general were not good enough for Netanyahu.”
“Efforts to create a virtual reality will not help Netanyahu.
Settlements are not legal, and neither are outposts,” Gal-On said.
Former Kadima leader Tzipi Livni said that the future of settlements
is a diplomatic matter, not a legal one, and should be based on the
possibility of a future peace agreement.
“It is possible and necessary to use the Levy Report for matters of
international law, while considering the current reality and continue
negotiations on settlement blocs,” Livni stated.
The Palestinians have refused to directly negotiate with Israel until
it halts West Bank settlement activity and Jewish building in east
Israel in turn has in the past promised the international community
that it will not build new settlements.
The Palestinian Authority dismissed the report. Nabil Abu Rudaineh, a
spokesman for PA President Mahmoud Abbas, said there was no such
thing as legal and illegal settlements.
All settlements are illegal under international law, he said. Abu
Rudaineh called on Israel to stop settlement activities and restrain
settlers if it is interested in reaching peace.
But the report argued that settlement activity was legal under both
international law and domestic Israeli law.
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
Until the Levy Report, her document was the only substantive Israeli
report on the matter – and the Levy Report built on Sasson’s work. It
did not re-quantify the number of settlements but rather looked at
the legal issues surrounding the problem and made recommendations on
how to solve them.
Right-wing politicians who have long pushed for an alternative to
Sasson’s document, hailed Levy’s work as a worthy replacement.
“The report proves Sasson’s report was political from the beginning
to the end. For Sasson, blossoming communities and entire
neighborhoods that were built with state encouragement and support
are illegal outposts.
The prosecutor’s office should view the Levy Report as a guidebook
and not veer from it,” said Science and Technology Minister Daniel
Herschkowitz (Habayit Hayehudi), who is a member of the Ministerial
Committee on Settlements.
Environmental Protection Minister Gilad Erdan, who is also a
committee member, said “I will work to ensure the government adopts
the report’s conclusion and to give a clear future and stability for
tens of thousands of families after dozens of years.”
“Finally, legal and historic justice has been done, following the
twister political stances based on the Meretz activist Talia Sasson’s
report,” he added.
Erdan said he would demand that the response of the Attorney-
General’s Office to legal issues involving settlements be based on
the Levy Report. The attorney-general has yet to comment on the
Public Diplomacy Minister Yuli Edelstein, who is also a committee
member, said he welcomed the report as “a resident of a settlement in
Judea and Samaria, and [as] the public diplomacy minister who fights
to express the natural right to settle [there] and not apologize for
it. However, the real test is the report’s adoption.”
Two other committee members of the 11-member panel, Foreign Minister
Avigdor Liberman (Yisrael Beytenu) and Interior Minister Eli Yishai
(Shas), expressed their support for the implementation of the report.
National Union MKs raved about the document, with MK Uri Ariel saying
it is one of the “most worthy and just reports written.” MK Arieh
Eldad said the report “smashes into pieces the mantra of ‘occupation’
as far as international law is concerned,” and called for an end to
the “Muslim occupation of the Land of Israel that began 1,300 years
MK Tzipi Hotovely (Likud) on Monday drafted a bill based on the Levy
Report, which calls for a judicial tribunal on land ownership issues
and applying construction and planning laws to the West Bank.
Hotovely has yet to submit the legislation, and is seeking support
from right-wing parties for her bill.
Khaled Abu Toameh contributed to this report. (© 1995-2011, The
Jerusalem Post 07/10/12)
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