Writing in the National Interest, former US ambassador to Israel Daniel Kurtzer explains why he disagrees with this week’s findings of an Israeli state commission on settlements.
The Levy committee’s assertion of “administrative assurance,” that is, the complicity of government officials in supporting settlement activity even when that activity contravened the law, is one of the most troubling aspects of the report. Under such circumstances, citizens in a democracy should expect that government officials who place themselves above the law would be held accountable, not that their activities would be explained away or condoned. Equally, the Levy committee’s recommendation that the outposts and settlement construction completed under these circumstances be legalized retroactively is chillingly Orwellian—as though to say it was wrong and illegal to engage in the activity, but it will now be made right and legal. One normally expects better from an Israeli democracy that, in the past, has enshrined the rule of law.
Ted Belman of the American Thinker takes a look at the way ahead for Israel and the international community in the wake of the Levy Committee’s findings.
From a political point of view, [Netanyahu] cannot ignore the Report. A political storm is raging. MK Tzippi Hotovely, Likud, is preparing a bill that will endorse the principles of the Levy Report and will require the establishment of a judicial tribunal in Judea and Samaria which will be given the responsibility of discussing matters related to land ownership, the establishment of an Israeli land registry in Judea and Samaria and applying Israeli building and planning laws on Judea and Samaria. Where does that leave the international community? The foundation of their attacks on Israel will have been destroyed. It will be hard to ignore the Report and harder still to ignore a confirming decision by Israel’s High Court. It will no longer be able to claim with a straight face that the lands are “occupied Palestinian lands” or that the settlements are illegal.
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