Restoring Israel’s Rights: The Levy Report

Frontpage Mag (Oct 28) — The Jewish people’s considerable rights to the land of Israel are founded upon several bases:

Jews have been on the land for close to 4,000 years, most notably within eastern Jerusalem (where the Old City and the Temple Mount are located), and Judea and Samaria – all places where ancient Israelite heritage is marked.  Jews, in fact, are the indigenous people of Israel, present not only historically, but with continuity over the centuries.

In modern times there are legal precedents for establishing the Jewish claim to Israel: This is with reference to the San Remo Conference, the Mandate for a Jewish Homeland in Palestine, confirmed in international law, and more.

These Jewish rights have certainly not diminished over the years.  Yet there is a prevailing perception that this is the case – that there has been a rethinking of what properly accrues to the Jewish State of Israel.  A revisionist perception, we might say.

This perception has been fueled by Palestinian Arab leader Mahmoud Abbas and his cohorts, who – in insisting ad nauseum that Israel’s proper place is behind the “1967 border” – reveal themselves to be major advocates of the dictum that, “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.”

Of course this business of a “1967 border” is a lie: there was no border established to Israel’s east after the War of Independence ended in 1949, only a temporary armistice line.  The armistice agreement was not even with a “Palestinian people,” but with Jordan.  Nor did Security Council Resolution 242 require Israel to pull back fully from Judea and Samaria, which was secured defensively during the Six-Day War in 1967.

…In January, 2012, Netanyahu appointed a committee – popularly referred to as the Levy Committee – to examine the status of Israeli building in Judea and Samaria. Edmund Levy, former Justice of the High Court, headed the committee; its other members were Alan Baker, international lawyer and former adviser for the Foreign Ministry, and Tehiya Shapira, retired Tel Aviv District Court Judge.

The Committee’s Report, which was released on July 8, 2012, is 90 pages long in the original Hebrew.  (Only summaries exist in English.)  It consists of both conclusions and recommendations and provides legal arguments and research.

The accusations currently being leveled by the international community against Israel as a violator of “international law” because of building in Judea and Samaria are countered by the Levy Report conclusions.  That is, because of both historical and legal factors, the decades-long presence of Israel in Judea and Samaria is not “belligerent occupation.” Israel’s situation is unique (sui generis) and Israel has the legal right to settle in Judea and Samaria.

The Report then offers a number of important recommendations, consistent with the conclu­sions, regarding adjustments in Israeli policies and practices in Judea and Samaria. These recommendations would clarify the rights of Israeli citizens living in Judea and Samaria, who currently find themselves at a serious disadvantage: The Israeli legal system default there favors Arabs.

At present, law-abiding, tax-paying Jewish Israeli citizens who bought their homes in Judea or Samaria in good faith and with the assistance of multiple government agencies can be forced to abandon those homes, if ownership of the land on which their homes are located is challenged by local Arabs, before the issue of who actually owns the land has been properly adjudicated.

These and a host of similar situations are violations of basic rights for Jews that should not be permitted to continue. Levy Report recommendations speak to these concerns.

I have it from an impeccable source that when Prime Minister Netanyahu first saw the Report, he declared, “Ah, this is just what we need.”

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