Right wing urges PM to adopt Levy Report

Politicians from the right and US Jewish leaders support findings; C'tee on Settlements to discuss Migron, Hebron and Beit El.

Aerial view of Ariel settlement in West Bank 370 (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
Aerial view of Ariel settlement in West Bank 370
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
Right-wing politicians and US Jewish leaders have urged Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to adopt the Levy Report, which calls for the legalization of unauthorized Jewish West Bank building on state land.
The calls come in advance of Tuesday’s Ministerial Committee on Settlements meeting, which is scheduled to debate the state’s response to three pending High Court of Justice petitions.
The subject of these petitions are the Migron outpost; Jewish presence in the Beit Ezra building in Hebron; and unauthorized construction on private Palestinian property in the Beit El settlement.
But supporters of the Levy Report – which Netanyahu commissioned and whose results he published last month – want the committee to add the report to its agenda. As of Monday evening, however, the prime minister had yet to cede to that request.
Energy and Water Minister Uzi Landau (Yisrael Beytenu) sent a letter to Netanyahu on Monday morning asking him and the committee to approve the report at Tuesday’s meeting.
In addition, he complained that the civil administration, with the support of the Attorney-General’s Office, continues to use legal measures in real estate disputes that the report has urged the government to repeal.
“We are talking about a severe disruption of civil and human rights” as well as acts of “discrimination” against Israelis living in Judea and Samaria, Landau said.
Dani Dayan, who heads the Council of Jewish Communities of Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip, said he feared the US and the Attorney-General’s Office had pressed Netanyahu not to advance the report.
“If that is the case, it is a pity, because [the prime minister] appointed a very serious committee with three prominent jurists. It is quite inconceivable that the recommendations will not even be discussed,” Dayan said.
Already at the start of the month, 65 American Jewish rabbis, leaders and activists wrote a letter to Netanyahu in support of the report penned by former Supreme Court justice Edmond Levy, former Foreign Ministry legal adviser Alan Baker and former Tel Aviv District Court deputy president Tchia Shapira.
In their letter, the US Jewish leaders said they were heartened to read the report’s conclusion that the settlements are legal under international law.
“As the Levy Report correctly notes, Israel is not engaged in ‘military occupation’ in relation to the communities in Judea and Samaria. We believe that this conclusion vindicates the Israeli government, which has been unjustifiably vilified by many in the international community, simply because there are Jews living in this particular area of the Jewish state,” the letter stated.
“It is not the responsibility of the State of Israel to appease the United Nations or other entities whose interests run counter to the best interests of the Jewish state.
We know that your government has not, and will not, mollify those who repeatedly have sought to delegitimize the State of Israel,” the letter continued.
Last month, another group of 40 US Jewish leaders, rabbis and activists urged Netanyahu not to adopt the report.
Peace Now executive director Yariv Oppenheimer on Monday said it would be a mistake for the Ministerial Committee on Settlements to formally adopt the report, which, he charged, “contradicts Israel’s international commitments.”
Separately, Netanyahu has also received pleas for the committee to support a High Court petition by Migron outpost residents who say they recently bought the property on which many of the 50 families live.
They have asked the court to allow those families to remain in their homes by canceling its order that they evacuate the outpost by August 28.
The committee last month said that the Migron families should be allowed to stay if the court upheld their purchase claim.
But at a court hearing on the matter last month, state attorney Osnat Mandel said that Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein found this opinion legally problematic.
The committee plans to convene on Tuesday to review its opinion on the matter in light of what Weinstein has said.
On Monday a group of seven national-religious rabbis, including Haim Druckman and Shlomo Aviner, called on Weinstein to stand behind the committee and support the petition by the Migron families.
Migron is located in the Binyamin region, just outside Jerusalem.
Last summer the High Court ruled that the outpost homes were built without permits on land classified by the state as belonging to private Palestinians.