12, 2012—New York—AJC, convinced that Israel’s presence in the West Bank is
based on solid legal ground, called on the Israeli government to reject the
recommendations of the Levy Commission as a distraction from the ongoing quest
for a negotiated two-state solution.
clear to us that Israel's role in the West Bank does not fit the standard legal
definition of 'occupation,'" said AJC Executive Director David Harris.
"These were lands under control of successive foreign powers, and then
captured by neighboring states, and later by Israel in a war of self-defense.
Their status is legitimately in dispute.
what may be legal is not always wise. The Commission's recommendations that the
Israeli government lift key restrictions on settlement and outpost
construction, and legalize unauthorized outposts would pose costly and
unnecessary political and diplomatic challenges.
accepted by the government, the commission's findings would offer an unearned
resistance to a return to peace talks with Israel—talks Israel is eager to
resume, without preconditions. And they would interfere with the message that
Prime Minister Netanyahu and previous Israeli governments have sent for the
last two decades of a profound commitment to a negotiated two-state solution
that will require compromise by both sides. We hope the panel's recommendations
will not be adopted."
special three-person commission, chaired by retired Israeli Supreme Court
Justice Edmund Levy, was charged by the Prime Minister in January to examine
legal questions pertaining to unauthorized Israeli outposts in the West Bank.