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Committee recommends Israeli government to legalise most West Bank outposts

February 17, 2014 at 11:18 pm

Reports in the Israeli media claim that the Israeli government intends to legalise the majority of the so-called outposts established across the occupied West Bank and encourage Jewish settlers to live on them. Such mini-settlements are illegal under Israeli as well as international law.

Newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth claimed on Monday that a report issued by the Levy Committee recommended to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that he should legalise most of the outposts. The committee said that Israel must devise ways “to ease land acquisition and zoning protocols for Jews residing in Judea and Samaria [sic]”. Levy also claims that settlements are not in breach of international law because Israel “is not an occupying power” and that the West Bank “was never an internationally-recognised independent entity”. This contradicts almost all judicial opinion around the world.

In its report, the Levy Committee called on the Israeli government to refrain from executing any demolition orders in outposts in the West Bank, arguing that it was the government which started the settlement projects with political support and funding. The government, says Levy, has also been aware of construction activities taking place on West Bank land seized by the Israeli army, which declared unilaterally that such areas would be military zones with no need for administrative decrees from the government.

In the same context, the committee said that it is necessary to enable Jews to purchase land in the Occupied West Bank on an individual basis without having to resort to bids or settlement associations. 

Former state prosecutor Talia Sasson criticized the Levy report, saying that it ignores rulings by the Israeli High Court regarding outposts and illegal settlement construction in the West Bank, and it also contradicts international law. The recommendations, she added, are not binding on the government.