Obama administration rejects report claiming Israel isn't occupying the West Bank: ‘we do not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlement activity

  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jul 11, 2012 7:50 AM GMT
    U.S. opposes report recommending legalization of West Bank settlements
    Obama administration rejects report claiming Israel isn't occupying the West Bank: ‘we do not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlement activity.’
    By Natasha Mozgovaya | Jul.10, 2012 | 11:27 AM | 19

    The U.S. State Department criticized on Monday night the Edmond Levy committee report which recommended legalizing most outposts in the West Bank, based on the assertion that Israel is not an occupying power.

    Patrick Ventrell, a U.S. State Department spokesman, spoke to reporters in Washington. "Obviously, we’ve seen the reports that an Israeli Government appointed panel has recommended legalizing dozens of Israeli settlements in the West Bank, but we do not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlement activity and we oppose any effort to legalize settlement outposts,” siad Ventrell.

    The Levy report recommends an upheaval of the judicial procedures in the West Bank, facilitating settlements and legalizing outposts. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is yet to decide how to deal with the report.

    A large portion of the Levy Committee’s report deals with a 2005 report written by attorney Talia Sasson, and commissioned by the Ariel Sharon government, which concluded that Israeli state bodies had been discreetly diverting millions of shekels to build illegal West Bank settlements and outposts.

    Sasson said on Monday, “if the Levy Committee is pushing the government to determine that Israel's presence in the West Bank does not violate international law, Israel is in a dangerous position facing the rest of the world.”

    Prof. David Kretzmer, an expert on international law, also commented on the findings of the Levy committee. "If Israel is not an occupying force, it must immediately relinquish ownership of all private lands seized over the years for military use, taken with authority as the occupying force in an occupied territory, and restore the lands to previous owners," said Kretzmer.

    Its about time Obama used some spine in countering the far right pushing for Carte Blanche Support of whatever unlawful actions that comes out of Israel's leadership. It should be noted that Adelson donated millions to Israels current leadership, just as he is doing here in the US with Romney at the present.

  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jul 11, 2012 5:19 PM GMT
    This is one of the issues Ari Fliescher was referring to (along with war with Iran) while talking to a group of Dual Citizens in Israel and encouraging them to register to vote for Romney

    The guy is also a dual citizen, WHOSE SIDE IS THIS GUY ON ? Remember it was His ilk who pushed for war with Iraq and we saw how that turned out, now his ilk is pushing for war with Iran. This is not in the interests of the US
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jul 11, 2012 8:20 PM GMT
    Panel appointed by Netanyahu concludes: There is no occupation

    Quicklink submitted by Sheila Samples
    (Add your own quicklinks easily with the
    OpEdNews Quick Link Browser bookmark)

    Monday, July 9 2012|Noam Sheizaf

    Panel appointed by Netanyahu concludes: There is no occupation

    The Israeli right celebration of the legal opinion that there is no occupation – written by the Supreme Court Justice that opposed the disengagement – is evidence that public debate has clearly reached a delusional moment.
    A panel formed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has concluded that Israel is entitled to settle the West Bank with Jews. The committee, headed by former Supreme Court Justice Edmond Levy, claims that Israel’s control over the West Bank cannot be seen as “occupation” since no country has recognized sovereignty over the territory. Therefore, the Fourth Geneva Convention, which prevents the transfer of a civilian population by an occupying force into the occupied territory, does not apply to the West Bank. Justice Levy recommends that the Israeli government end the temporary status of the settlements and register the settlers’ control over the territory.

    You can read the entire report here (Hebrew, PDF). A few quick takeaways:

    This position is not new. Although the Israeli Supreme Court did cite the Fourth Geneva Convention in various rulings, Israeli legal scholars and some of their supporters have put forward this interpretation before, as part of an attempt to justify the ongoing colonization of the West Bank and the annexation of East Jerusalem and the surrounding areas (I addressed one such effort here). To the best of my knowledge, this position has never been accepted by the majority of the international legal community, or by major legal scholars.

    If anything, I see this verdict as additional evidence of the failure of the legal field’s to contest the occupation. The Israeli left has made a historic mistake by believing that courts can provide a platform for battling the occupation. For decades, human rights organizations have filed hundreds of petitions to the Supreme Court in an effort to stop the ongoing annexation, colonization and persecution of the Palestinian people. As a rule, the courts always approved the colonial practice while placing a few caveats. The Supreme Court allowed settlements, but not on privately owned land; it allowed targeted assassinations, but under certain conditions (which were not adhered to by the army); it allowed construction of the separation barrier on Palestinian land, but then moved it in a few places; recently, it also allowed Israel to use and sell Palestinian natural resources. The court even allowed torture under certain conditions, although this is the one aspect where it actually went a step further and ruled out most of the practices used by the Internal Security Service.

    One of the last efforts in the legal battle against the occupation was The Outpost Report, produced a decade ago by attorney Talia Sasson (who later joined Meretz). The report concluded that Israel violated its own rules and its international commitments by allowing and aiding the establishment of new settlements in the West Bank and on private Palestinian land. The government approved the report, but in most cases action against the outposts was delayed. Finally, Israeli NGO’s – in most cases, Peace Now – started filing petitions demanding the return of the land to its owners.

    After several court rulings in favor of the petitioners, Prime Minister Netanyahu decided to tackle the root of the problem – the Sasson report. This is the reason he formed the new panel. By nominating justice Levy to lead it, the prime minister pretty much determined the outcome – Levy was the single minority justice that ruled against the disengagement from Gaza, declaring that it violates the rights of the settlers. To sum it up, it took the Israeli government a decade to do what most people do in the minute after getting an opinion they don’t like from a legal adviser: they go to another lawyer.