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Peres: Settlements a threat to Israel

Israel's president Shimon Peres with a friend.

Israel's president Shimon Peres with Yassir Arafat
Photo Credit: Flash90

Israeli President Shimon Peres called Judea and Samaria settlements a threat to Israel.

The remarks were made on Tuesday at the annual ceremony in memory of Zionism founder Theodor Herzl, and addressed a report released Sunday that said “Israel does not meet the criteria of ‘military occupation’ as defined under international law” in the West Bank, and that therefore settlements and West Bank outposts are legal.

“It is doubtful that a Jewish state without a Jewish majority can remain Jewish,” Peres said, inferring that settlements would lead to the inextricable inclusion of the Palestinians living on the West Bank.

The Obama administration criticized the findings of the Levy Committee report.

“We do not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlement activity and we oppose any effort to legalize settlement outposts,” State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell told reporters Monday evening in answer to a question about the Levy Committee report. Ventrell added that the State Department is “concerned about it, obviously.”

U.S. Deputy Secretary of State William Burns could bring up the report during meetings this week in Israel. Burns will be there with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during her visit to the region.

The Levy Committee, which was formed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and headed by former Israeli Supreme Court Justice Edmond Levy, called in its 89-page report for the legalization of all outposts and allowing people who built homes on Palestinian-owned land to pay compensation to the alleged owners, recommends changing the legal regulations concerning Jewish settlement in Judea and Samaria in the areas of zoning, demolitions and building.

Leftist Jewish groups in the United States criticized the report.

Americans for Peace Now in a statement called on the government of Israel “to repudiate the findings of the commission it appointed to address the problem of illegal outposts in the West Bank.” APN added that Israel “would cause terrible damage to its international standing, to its relationship with the United States, and to prospects for peace with the Palestinians and the Arab world” if the government adopted the report.

J Street called on the Israelis “to reject the committee’s recommendations and to choose instead a path that leads to two states, thereby securing both Israel’s Jewish and democratic future.”

The findings of the committee are subject to the review and approval of Israeli Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein.

Netanyahu established the committee in January after settler leaders called for a response to the 2005 Sasson Report on illegal outposts, which concluded that more than 100 West Bank settlements and outposts constructed from the 1990s and forward were illegal.

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21 Responses to “Peres: Settlements a threat to Israel”

  1. Michael Dar says:

    Instead of fighting for the historic, moral, spiritual and legal right of the Jews on the land, some by ignorance and deceit call Palestine, " our" President" (why the f…k do we need a president for?) expose his immense wisdom again..we would have expected that after that Oslo crazy experiment, his support for the unilateral retreat from S-Lebanon and the Gaza betrayal and folly he would at least have the decency to limit himself to his useless abut costly functions!

  2. Charlie Hall says:

    Adoption of the Levy Committee's recommendations would have terrible negative consequences for Israel's image all over the world.

  3. Stewart Nasar says:

    Obama administration is questioning Israels territories' validity

  4. David Haser Hasday says:


    And I always thought that Peres was a threat to Israel…
    I was wrong…

  5. Charlie Hall says:

    With the exception of East Jerusalem, these territories have never been annexed to Medinat Yisrael (although a kind of *de facto* annexation was made for the Golan). Lyndon Johnson established America's policy of declaring the settlements to be illegal and an impediment to peace way back in 1968, and Johnson's eight successors have not changed this policy. Every other country in the world agrees with Johnson.

  6. Peres was as big a supporter of settlements as Sharon back in the 70's.

  7. Sounds like, your right hand is a threat to your left hand.

  8. Why would it be bad for Israel's image? Could you give reasons for your statement? Is Israel's image all you are concerned about? Israel's image throughout the world is terrible now because its only policy is to appease its enemies. No one knows what Israel stands for and if Israel is saying as the Sasson report and the Supreme court says that places like Hebron and Beit El, our biblical and historic heartland, are by default "palestinian" land then we are thieves and the rest of the world can do nothing else but be against Israel. But, if Israel would stand up and say "This is our land" (this report is a step in that direction) there would be some initial negative reactions, but in the long run it will be very good for Israel.

  9. What EVERYONE seems to be forgetting is that both the Hamas and the PA refuse to recognize Israel as the Nationial Home of the Jewish people, ergo they are really saying that the ENTIRE LAND OF ISRAEL does not belong to the State of Israel or the Jewish people. Can someone explain THAT to Mr Peres and his vision of a new Middle East? I've given up already on Obama and Hillary and the rest of the gang in the White House.

  10. Ltc Howard says:

    @Charlie Hall— this will put pressure on the Palestinians.

    you should note that the core issue is that the Palestinians will not recognize Israel as a nation and they adamantly refuse to acknowledge that the Jews have any rights at all in any the part of the area.

    When they announced that the West Bank will be Jew-free and that East Jerusalem will be a Jew-free and that the Palestinians in camps in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and even on the West Bank will not be granted Palestinian citizenship but will have the right of return (unlimited) to what is now the "occupiedArab land called Israel"—that should've told you that there is no basis for peace.

    Remember when there were no settlements on the West Bank and the Jordanians held East Jerusalem, the destruction of Israel through terrorism was part of the Palestinian agenda.

    Charlie,, when you come out with a list of what should be Israel's minimum requirements to be demanded from the Palestinians and the Arab world I will listen to your remarks as a worthwhile contribution.

  11. Ltc Howard says:

    Charlie Hall I was advisor to every administration starting with Kennedy and continuing through Bush. Your statement is wrong the US has never said “illegal”.

  12. Ltc Howard says:

    Charlie Hall You should read Walter Rostow and the other US officials as to the meeting which signed resolution 242 which they publicly declare makes the West Bank “disputed territory.” This is the current view a statement:
    from US State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell:
    …the U.S. position on settlements is clear. 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. Even here with the Obama administrations strong animosity toward Israel they never say illegal— nor has any other administration.

  13. Peres has always been a maverick and loose cannon. To depricate Yesha is an abrogation of responsibility. As President his commitment is first and foremost to the Israeli citizens who live there. His murmurings also establish an ill advised precedent. By the parlance of the 19th Century – Yemin Moshe, Rosh Pina, Zichron Yacov, Pardes Hanna, Petach Tikvah and Neve Tzedek would all be considered Jewish Settlements surrounded by sizeable Arab populations. As a President, his role is purely symbolic – the personification of the country. He should be seen and not heard. He is the real danger – an agent provocateur exercising highly divisive language.

  14. Michael Dar says:

    Israel's rights on the land (on all of it!) are historic, moral, spiritual and legal..declared as such by the League of Nations. If some for political conveniences want to bypass international law by fake declaration…they are those who are in illegality. If the world refuses to stick to unanimously voted international laws about the right of the Jews to reconstitute their National Homeland than every single one of the countries who were likewise created by the same League of Nations must also see their existence, legitimacy and territorial bounderies questioned. Syria, Lebanon, Iraq..and first and for all (trans-)Jordan which was illegally given by the British to the Hashemites..land who was an integral part of what was destined to become the Jewish National Homealnd.

  15. Peres has always been a maverick and loose cannon. To depricate Yesha is an abrogation of responsibility. As President his commitment is first and foremost to the Israeli citizens who live there. His murmurings also establish an ill advised precedent. By the parlance of the 19th Century – Yemin Moshe, Rosh Pina, Zichron Yacov, Pardes Hanna, Petach Tikvah and Neve Tzedek would all be considered Jewish Settlements surrounded by sizeable Arab populations. As a President, his role is purely symbolic – the personification of the country. He should be seen and not heard. He is the real danger – an agent provocateur exercising highly divisive language.

  16. Charlie Hall says:

    Israel accepted that they are basically Palestinian land in the Oslo Accords. It also agreed not to colonize occupied territory when it ratified the Fourth Geneva Convention. And it has not declared any of the land in question, such as Beit El and Hebron, to be part of Medinat Yisrael.

    There is not a single country in the world, not even the US, that supports Israel in this. Nine US Presidents — five Republicans and four Democrats — have held the same position.

  17. Charlie Hall says:

    That is not true, the League of Nations Mandate did not specify a boundary for a Jewish National Home, other that it be "in" Palestine. And it also did not call for a sovereign Jewish state.

    Trans-Jordan was not "illegally given" to the Hashemites. It was never part of the Palestine Mandate. And besides, Reuven and Gad were criticized for wanting to live Ever HaYardein — why would we want to repeat their sin?

  18. Charlie Hall says:

    Actually the PLO recognized Israel in the Oslo Accords. But you are correct about Hamas — it considers Tel Aviv to be occupied territory.

  19. Charlie Hall says:

    And we should keep holding the PLO's feet to the fire on this. But accepting this report on settlements will be seen as a violation of the Bush Road Map agreement that Israel accepted, in addition to the Fourth Geneva Convention. We look hypocrites when we complain about Palestinians not keeping their agreements when Israel doesn't either.

  20. The only hypocrites are a "people" who claim they want "Peace" when they teach their children to glorify suicide bombing, murder Jews (excuse me I meant ZIONISTS) and claim that Tel Aviv as well Judea and Samaria belong to them! Are you a THINKING person or do you believe whatever the leftist-socialist media feeds you? The Palestinians have broken every single agreement they signed in letter and spirit. The State of Israel is under no obligation to keep their end of the bargain when we are dealing with a bunch of murderers, con men and haters of Jews. Wake up!

  21. Eyal Nevo says:

    I can't believe intelligent people even consider "biblical rights"- do you have any other case in history when one could demand something that has supposedly (according to a single book, no matter how many believe everything written there is true) belonged to you 2000 years ago? Jews, maybe, deserve their own country because much more recent history showed them to be a people, and such that other peoples don't want amongst them, but because Abraham? Other religions' books promise them the same land. it's sacred to all religions, and history (real history), is there to show it.

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