West Bank outpost 311.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski )
"Palestinian hopes for an independent state are growing dimmer all the
time. Israel is pushing ahead with new settlements in the West Bank, and
now comes a potentially disastrous blow" The New York Times wrote in an editorial published in the paper on Wednesday.
editorial referred to the "Levy Report," a report co-authored by
retired Supreme Court justice Edmund Levy on legal issues regarding West
Bank settlements, as "bad law, bad policy and bad politics."
editorial was extremely troubled that the report stated that Israel's
presence in the West Bank is "not occupation. The commission endorsed
the state’s legal right to settle there and recommended that the state
approve scores of new Israeli settlements. It proposed stripping the
military of its authority to force settlers off land claimed by
"Most of the world views the West Bank, which was
taken by Israel from Jordan in the 1967 war, as occupied territory and
all Israeli construction there as a violation of international law,"
states the editorial, noting that "the world court ruled this way in
2004, the Fourth Geneva Convention bars occupying powers from settling
their own populations in occupied lands. And UN resolution 242, a core
of Middle East policy," calls for Israeli withdrawals from the West
out that the report's recommendations "would annul a number of past
Israeli Supreme Court rulings and orders, including a 1979 decision
forbidding the expropriation of land for 'military needs' when the real
goal is settlement construction."
The negative consequences of
adopting the report for Israel could be significant, including diverting
"attention from Iran just when the world is bearing down with
sanctions" to stop Iran's alleged nuclear weapons program.. the Times
the report would "also draw attention to a dispiriting anomaly: that a
state founded as a democratic homeland for the Jewish people is
determined to continue ruling 2.5 million Palestinians under an unequal
Th editorial concludes by praising the US State
Department's criticism of the report and cautioning Prime Minister
Binyamin Netanyahu that with Kadima and a larger, less right-wing
coalition, he no longer has "excuses" to stop his "counterproductive
settlement policy" and for failing to advance a peace agreement with the