From the Jerusalem Post: July 14, 2012 Saturday 24



It seems the real hope of the pro-settler bloc is that the Levy report will now become official government policy. The hope is that after receiving support from the unimpeachable legal minds who sat on the Levy Committee, the government will feel free to pursue its ideology of settling the West Bank openly.

Sentiments along those lines were voiced this week by Likud MKs and ministers, including Yisrael Katz, who was quoted by Ma’ariv this on Tuesday as calling on the government to “endorse the report so as to remove obstacles and to allow continued activity for the sake of the development, strengthening and entrenchment of the settlements in Judea and Samaria.”

A development of that kind, however, is highly unlikely.

Prime Minister Netanyahu shot down the bill that was geared to legalize outposts in June not on ideological grounds but in fear of the international political repercussions that such legislation was liable to produce.

The international community uniformly considers all Israeli settlement in the West Bank to be illegal. It does not accept the Israeli argument that the status of the West Bank is disputed; rather, it holds the West Bank to be unequivocally under Israeli occupation. Even Israel’s staunchest friends refuse to accept the legality of its settlement of the West Bank. Needless to say, the Levy Committee report is not going to change that.

Ever since the signing of the Oslo Accords, all the Israeli governments have undertaken before the international community not to build new settlements on the West Bank. In order to placate the settlers, the Sharon government invented the outpost system, which allowed settlers to expand to dozens of new points across the West Bank, while formally distancing the government from that settlement activity and absolving it of any legal responsibility.

The government was able to tell the international community, “we didn’t sanction the establishment of those renegade outposts, and we undertake to remove them.”

On paper, the Israeli government had to maintain the façade, as if the outposts had been established in defiance of its own policy, in order to maintain ongoing working relations with the international community, which, in turn, was prepared to accept the mendacious assertion so as not to make any unnecessary waves.

But legalizing the outposts would put an end to that façade and would be a slap in the face of the international community, including Israel’s friends and allies, producing dire political repercussions.

That is why Netanyahu shot down the legalization bill last month, and that is why he will almost certainly not endorse the Levy report.

To endorse the Levy report is to unmask the ongoing fraud by the Israeli government; it is to admit openly that the government has lent its tacit support to the establishment of the outposts and, as such, to the ongoing settlement of the West Bank, despite promises to the contrary.

In short, to do so would be politically suicidal for Netanyahu.