Left scorns Levy report, Right has only praise

Peace Now: No jurist would refer to this political manifesto as a serious report; Right urges implementation of recommendations.

HOMESH hilltop settlement 370 (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
HOMESH hilltop settlement 370
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Peace Now director-general Yariv Oppenheimer on Monday slammed the composition, findings and recommendations of the Levy Committee that found Israeli settlement in the West Bank is legal under international law and that the government avoid demolishing illegal outposts. "No jurist in the world would refer to this political manifesto as a serious report," Channel 10 reported.
The committee, Oppenheimer said, was created by the Israeli Right, who made efforts to affect the selection of its members.
"The conclusion that there is no occupation proves that the committee members are living in continuous denial," he added.
Yesh Din attorney Michael Sfard also slammed the report, saying the Levy committee was "born in sin."   
Sfard said that the committee was founded in order to authorize crime and that it fully fulfilled its task. "It is not a legal report but an ideological report that ignores basic principles of the rule of law," said Sfard.
"It seems as though the committee members fell down the rabbit hole, and their report was written in Wonderland where the law of the absurd rules - there is no occupation, no illegal outposts, and seemingly no Palestinian state. It must be said in the language of Alice [in Wonderland]: This is the most stupid tea party I've seen in my life." 
Responses to the report, however, were not entirely negative. Yesha settlement council chairman Dani Dayan praised its findings and called for the implementation of its recommendations.
"It is clear that deep, basic and serious legal work was done," Dayan told Army Radio. "Compared to the Talia Sasson report, this time we're talking about impartial, first rate jurists."
The report's findings should be deeply examined and a plan for implementing its recommendations should be presented, Dayan continued.
The report, while recommending the legalization of illegal outposts, was critical of government policies that allowed their establishment.
“We wish to stress that the picture that has been displayed before us regarding Israeli settlement activity in Judea and Samaria does not befit the behavior of a state that prides itself on, and is committed to, the rule of law,” said the report, which was authored by three legal experts.
MK Danny Danon (Likud) also welcomed the report, calling it "a gift for communities in Judea and Samaria." He urged Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to act upon the report and to encourage more communities to develop in the West Bank.
"The report will remove any leftist radicalism from previous court ruling on the outposts and bury once and for all the alarming report previously submitted by attorney Talia Sasson," said Danon.
The experts are former Supreme Court justice Edmund Levy, former Foreign Ministry legal adviser Alan Baker and former deputy president of the Tel Aviv District Court Tchia Shapira.
In late January, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu appointed the trio – nicknamed the “outpost committee” – to investigate the legal status of unauthorized West Bank Jewish building.
On Sunday, the 89-page document they penned was given to members of the Ministerial Committee on Settlements.
Tovah Lazaroff contributed to this report.