(JNS.org) Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is seeking to adopt some conclusions of the Report on the Legal Status of Building in Judea and Samaria by retired Supreme Court Judge Edmond Levy.
The report’s main premise is that, under international law, Israel is not an occupying force in Judea and Samaria and has a legal right to build communities there. The report recommended reforming the status of the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria in such a way that would legalize most of those that are currently illegal under Israeli law.
While Netanyahu intends to bring the report before his cabinet, Israeli Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein expressed reservations about that move on Wednesday, Israel Hayom reported. Netanyahu has said that a formal discussion of the topic in the cabinet would depend on Weinstein's recommendations.
Allan Gerson—former counsel to the U.S. Delegation to the United Nations under President Ronald Reagan and author of the book Israel, the West Bank, and International Law—told JNS.org when the report was introduced in July that Israeli building in Judea and Samaria is not “inherently unlawful” because “there are claims that Israel has” to do so.
Israel can stop building in Judea and Samaria simply to “be nice to the other side,” Gerson said, but “If you have a claim [as Israel does] that you’re entitled to [build in the area], there’s an argument to be made that you don’t forfeit that claim.”
Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has said that adopting the Levy Report “would contribute greatly to the fortitude of the State of Israel,” but Defense Minister Ehud Barak said doing so would “undermine Israel's diplomacy efforts and further isolate Israel from the world.”