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January 18, 2017 / 20 Tevet, 5777
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Mofaz Urging AG to Stop Netanyahu from Adopting Justice Levy’s Recommendations on Outposts

Netanyahu told Likud ministers he plans adopting part of the report without relating to broad legal interpretations, to avoid international criticism.

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Israel's Defense Minister Ehud Barak (R) and leader of the Opposition Shaul Mofaz both intend to stop Netanyahu from legalizing outposts.

Israel's Defense Minister Ehud Barak (R) and leader of the Opposition Shaul Mofaz both intend to stop Netanyahu from legalizing outposts.
Photo Credit: Miriam Alster/FLASH90

Opposition leader Shaul Mofaz (Kadima) petitioned Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein yesterday asking him to intervene immediately regarding Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s intention to adopt parts of Justice Edmond Levy’s report which recommend the legalization most outposts in Judea and Samaria and applying Israeli law there, in place of the current martial law, even before the upcoming Knesset elections, Walla reports.

“The prime minister’s hasty act of getting the report approved and adopting its recommendations by the government so close before the elections does not meet the criteria of a vital public need for action,” Mofaz argued. “Therefore, we should refrain from any decision at this time.”

The opposition leader asked Weinstein to instruct Netanyahu not to make any decision on this matter and to “allow Israel’s citizens to decide about it at the poll.”

The Edmond Levy report, published last June at the prime minister’s request, was intended to provide a legal framework for changing government policy on Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria. The report found that the legal status of Judea and Samaria is not that of “occupied territory,” and therefore most of the outposts in these areas are legal.

Last Sunday, Netanyahu told Likud ministers he plans on adopting part of the report without relating to broad legal interpretations, to avoid international criticism. Still, the proposal will add legal flexibility and remove bureaucratic obstacles, making Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria considerably easier.

Mofaz warned the Attorney General that the present Israeli government is actually only a transitional government, and therefore is limited in the scope of the legislation in which it may engage. Mofaz further pointed out that the proposed action “could obligate the next elected government, based on the principle of continuance of rule, and thereby cause irreversible damage.”

The decision is expected to receive the support of most of the government ministers, who have been pressuring Netanyahu to fully adopt the report. On Wednesday, Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman said that “the conclusions of the Levy report should be fully adopted.”

Liberman argued that adopting the report “will solve a lot of problems, both on the national and international fronts.” According to Liberman, the committee’s ruling that Jewish settlements do not constitute a violation of international law, are “proper and important and their adoption by the government will contribute significantly to strengthening the State of Israel.”

Both Atzmaut Party ministers expressed their opposition to adopting the report. On Wednesday, Defense Minister Ehud Brak warned that the report “will have a reverse effect of what its supporters are anticipating. Adopting the report will not strengthen the settlements in Judea and Samaria, but will cause Israel political harm and further isolate the country on the international front. Thereby, this step should be avoided.”

Opposition parties sharply attacked Netanyahu and accused him of electioneering.

Labor Party Chair Shelly Yachimovich accused Netanyahu of attempting to sidetrack the election campaign from economic and social issues to “a bogus debate between the right and the left which no longer exists.” According to Yachimovich, “adopting the report will benefit neither the Judea and Samaria residents, nor Israel’s security or international position and surely not Israeli citizens that are collapsing under the burden of Netanyahu’s anti-social and destructive policies.”

Meretz Chair Zahava Gal-On warned of sanctions that would be levied against Israel and stated that Netanyahu “is continuing to serve the interests of the extreme right and the settlers. He wants to create an apartheid state here, to ‘declare as kosher’ the varmint of the illegal outposts, to annex territory without the people who are living there.”

Jacob Edelist

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  1. Mofaz and Barack and all the other opponents have no respect for legal principals.
    The Levy report is based upon well recognized principals of International Law and must be adopted. The noted international law expert Eli Hertz just the other day wrote a well documented memorandum explaining the law and legal principals involved and the Levy report is on solid ground and must be adopted.

    Zvi Hershel Smith, LLM (International Law) NYU 1966.

  2. Bill Bilek says:

    The Levy Report should be adopted by the government. Such a step would not REQUIRE subsequent action by this, or any future government (although it would provide a legal basis for such action, if such were contemplated for the future). The report could be part of this government's electoral platform, and the electorate will be signalling their approval, or disapproval, by voting for, or against, the Likud in the upcoming elections.

    It is important to have official Israeli policy based on its interpretation of the rule of law, just as the rest of the international community, the U.N., etc., put forward their opposing interpretation. Neither OPINION comprises "the law" until it is adjudicated by some internationally accepted juridical body, with enforcement capabilities. Such a body does not exist at this time.

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