Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will recommend that the government adopt parts of the Levy Report dealing with Israeli settlements in the West Bank. The report, which was presented to Netanyahu last summer, was prepared by a committee headed by former High Court Justice Edmund Levy. The report determines that Israel is not an occupying power in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, that the Geneva Conventions don’t apply to the Israeli presence there and that Israeli settlements in the West Bank are legitimate.
The report is divided in two sections. The first one deals with the legal aspects of the Israeli presence in the West Bank and Gaza. The second section provides operative guidelines for the building of settlements, legalizing settler outpost and purchasing of land by settlers.
The Israeli newspaper Haaretz claims that a high ranking government officer confirmed that the prime minister will call the government to adopt the “functional parts of the Levy Report.” Those parts deal with the construction of new settlements in the West Bank, ways to “legalize” existing settlement outposts and the procedures to purchase land by settlers.
Haaretz claims that according to the government officer, the government will not discuss the political parts of the report regarding the status of Israel in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
The consensus among Israeli analysts is that Netanyahu, who shelved the report in July when it was presented, is now ready to adopt part of it due to the Israeli elections slated for January 2013. Netanyahu’s change of policy also reflects the increasing pressure from Likud ministers and Knesset members, as well as right wing parties in the coalition and the opposition as well.
Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu of Arutz 7, a right wing news outlet, claims in an article that “it is probable that the government will make more promises than concrete changes in policies before the elections.”
Likud MKs Tzipi Hotovely, Gideon Sa’ar and Yuli Edelstein, among others, have told Netanyahu that the Levy Report should be approved.Likud MK Yisrael Katz said in an interview with “Voice of Israel” that he is not concerned with the “expected international opposition to strengthening the status of Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria.”
Katz added that “adopting the report’s recommendations to stop discrimination against Jews will deliver a clear message to residents of Judea and Samaria they can live normal lives like everyone else in the country.”
It is expected that the proposal to adopt the report will be presented in one of the upcoming government cabinet meetings.