A fascinating development this week in Israel was the release of the report of a governmental commission whose assignment had been to define the legal status of the “occupied territories” for purposes of government policy. The commission was headed by Edmond Levy, an interesting former Supreme Court justice and one of the only ones who is not a judicial activist leftist.

The Obama people are upset with the report (an indication of how good it is) and Israel’s moonbat Left is positively wetting itself in anguish.

Basically the report says that the West Bank – Judea and Samaria – are not occupied territories at all but, at most, disputed territories, something like the US-Canadian border areas were during parts of North American history.

As such, there is no reason why Israel cannot build there and even seize land there under eminent domain.

There is nothing in international law that would make settlements “illegal.” And they should thus be proclaimed by Israel to be completely legal. Whether or not Israel builds settlements then becomes a matter of Israeli interests and policy, not legal obstacles.

Here in brief is the case for Jewish settlements in the West Bank:

• It is in Israel’s acute national interest to prevent the West Bank from serving as a terrorist base, from which rockets, mortars and possibly weapons of mass destruction would be launched at Israel. Life in Israel would be impossible with the West Bank serving as a “Palestinian state,” basically a clone of Hamastan in Gaza. It is thus critical to do everything to prevent that from happening.

• Every accord or “deal” that provides for any sort of “Palestinian” state or sovereignty or entity operating outside Israeli control in the West Bank will produce the scenario of the previous point, mass terrorist aggression from “Palestine,” making life in Israel impossible.

It does not matter what would be written in any accord or treaty.

• Israel would be prevented from taking serious action against terrorist aggression from this “Palestine” by international pressures and sanctions, and the Israeli Left would rally the world against Israeli “aggression” in all such cases.

• The only way effectively to prevent the conversion of the West Bank into a Hamastan terror base is by maintaining a significant Jewish population there. This effectively prevents international pressure from producing the conversion of the West Bank into the second Hamastan, and effectively prevents endlessly- appeasing and cowardly Israeli governments from capitulating to those pressures.

(Imagine what Olmert would have done without the settlements. Since most of the settlers are actually living in Jerusalem suburbs, their presence there also prevents any capitulations by Israel to pressures regarding relinquishing Jerusalem.) • While there are other moral and historic arguments for why Israel and Jews have the right to live in the West Bank, the only real purpose of “settlements” is to prevent the emergence of any “Palestinian state.” No other rationalization or justification is needed.

There are no alternative effective ways to prevent the conversion of the West Bank into Hamastan.

• West Bank settlements are no obstacle at all for the economic development of the Palestinian population centers there, nor to forms of limited autonomy, which should be the most that Israel is willing to concede to the Palestinians. (And even they are not an entitlement.) There’s a more fundamental problem with the word “occupation.” The anti-Israel lobby, including Israel’s Left, adopted the nonsense word “occupation” originally after 1967 because at the time it still conjured up associations with the Nazi occupation of Europe and the Japanese occupation of East Asia before and during the War.

As in everything else, Israeli leaders decided that semantics do not matter and refused to fight that battle, forfeiting more than 40 years ago.

The analogous Hebrew word, “kibush,” is even stupider – it means “conquest.” It is like claiming that the Belgian and Dutch territories liberated from the Nazis by the Allies are now “conquered territories.”

As a matter of general policy, I would suggest that any time an Israeli uses the nonsense word “kibush,” and that includes half the articles in Haaretz, you should regard absolutely everything else that person says about everything and anything in the world to be absolute nonsense.

The writer teaches in the Graduate School of Management at the University of Haifa.

Please LIKE our Facebook page - it makes us stronger