Bayit Yehudi MKs call to adopt Levy Report, legalize outposts

Report says settlements are legal under international law, calls on government to allow construction of outposts.

Bayit Yehudi MKs call to legalize outposts (photo credit: URI ARIEL SPOKESMAN)
Bayit Yehudi MKs call to legalize outposts
(photo credit: URI ARIEL SPOKESMAN)
Bayit Yehudi will work to have the government adopt the Levy Report on settlements and legalize outposts on state land, Construction Minister Uri Ariel said in Ofra, in Samaria, Saturday night.
“Only a big and strong Bayit Yehudi can lead the government to adopt the Levy Report, authorize young settlements and lead the legislation of the ‘Regulation Bill’ [to legalize outposts],” Ariel stated.
Outposts are extensions of existing settlements in the West Bank that have yet to be legally authorized, though many are built on state land.
The government-sponsored Levy Report, named after former Supreme Court justice Edmund Levy, who wrote it after his retirement in 2011, stated that West Bank settlements were legal under international law. It also called for the government to make outposts built on state land legal.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu never brought the report for authorization by the government or relevant ministerial committees.
Ariel said his party’s goal was to make sure Amona and other settlements were not dismantled.
“We learned from experience,” he said. “In Ulpana Hill [an outpost in Bet El], the prime minister promised to build 300 homes in the area, but three years after it was destroyed, they’re not building them. Four years after the Fogel family was murdered [by Palestinians], the planning scheme from Itamar still is not authorized, and there are many more examples.”
MK Orit Struck (Bayit Yehudi) said settlements were on a slippery slope in their dealings with the High Court, referring to a recent order to destroy an outpost. In order to set things right, she said, the settlements had to be strong, united and determined, and Bayit Yehudi had to be large, with serious heft in the next government.
“If we are not smart enough to work together – the settlements and the politicians – the deterioration will continue,” Struck stated.
Bezalel Smotrich, eighth on the Bayit Yehudi list, said “the goal is to stop homes from being destroyed, period.” He pointed to Migron, Ulpana Hill and Amona, outposts that were ordered destroyed in recent years, and said there were another 1,200 homes in a similar situation.
“[The government] tried to tell us there’s a difference, but there isn’t, and we need to stop this now, to grab the bull by its horns, to bring the decision back to the Knesset and pass the ‘Regulation Bill,’” Smotrich stated. “Adopting the Levy Report is not enough. We need legal work and a legislative solution. We have to create a political motivation and make it clear to the prime minister that this needs to be solved.”
Ariel, Struck and Smotrich are all candidates from Tekuma, a more rabbinical- and settlement- oriented party that is running on a joint list with Bayit Yehudi.
MK Motti Yogev (Bayit Yehudi) vowed that “whatever Bayit Yehudi’s size, it will prevent any malicious thoughts of destroying homes in Ofra or anywhere else in Judea and Samaria.”
According to Yogev, the State Attorney’s Office and Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein were politically motivated in calling to destroy outposts.
Bayit Yehudi candidate Anat Roth said that “we have come a long way since the disengagement” from the Gaza Strip.
“After homes were destroyed in Amona [in 2006], people felt that within two years they would lose their homes and that all settlements were in danger. There was a feeling that we are week, that no one pays attention to us,” Roth said.
“Today, we have senior representation in the government and the cabinet,” she pointed out.
“We cannot go back to the mistakes of the days of the disengagement, in which we were dependent on the kindness of other parties. We have to unite behind Bayit Yehudi and make sure we have our own, large political power.”