The legal world is an amazing world, any position or opinion, unrealistic as it may be, will always find a jurist who will agree to defend it. The Israeli right wing can be satisfied; Edmund Levy’s committee provided the “goods” and produced dozens of pages, a political manifesto designed to legally legitimize the settlements and outposts in the occupied territories.
Whoever reads the report cannot help but wonder about the absence of the Palestinians from the report. The word ‘Palestinians’ is almost never mentioned nor discussed, thus ignoring two and a half million people who are living under the Israeli occupation.
Perhaps the committee was wrong in describing the legal situation in the territories, but still it managed to give an accurate description of the mental and psychological state of Israeli society; since the Six-Day War and the establishment of the first settlement until present where over 300,000 people are living in the settlements, a situation based largely on the term “repression”.
Israel, although self-perceived as the only democracy in the Middle East, has been maintaining a non-democratic and unequal governmental system within theWest Bank, based entirely on military orders and decrees that legally differentiate between settlers and Palestinians.
In order not to harm its democratic image, Israel has never annexed the territories, preferring to leave the current situation in the “gray” zone, to control the area but not to grant any civil rights to Palestinians, while establishing settlements without annexing the territories to Israel.
Generations of prime ministers have realized that the process of annexation would force the government to provide the Palestinians with Israeli citizenship and to equalize their status to that of Israeli Arabs.
Any other solution will be considered anti-democratic and will cause democratic rights such as the right to vote to be granted on an ethnic basis. Therefore, the territories were never annexed toIsrael; the legal system adapted itself to the politicians and produced a unique and different legal system of the West Bank allowingIsraelto establish settlements without formally annexing the area.
Left with no choice, the Israeli Supreme Court finally agreed to follow suit with the political leadership to approve the establishment of settlements, pending those that will be established “legally” and not on private Palestinian properties. This exception was never actually implemented and the Levy Committee is an attempt to bury it as well. Thus the state succeeded to maintain a democratic facade, and yet satisfying its appetite for conquest and colonial domination on more territories in theWest Bank.
The almost desperate clinging of the committee members’ to the fact that these areas were never defined as a foreign territory and therefore not an considered an occupied territory, is disillusioned when faced with the daily reality where millions of Palestinians do not have any civil rights, depending on the mercies of Israel. From construction permits and transportation permits, to political rights and policy,Israelis a sovereign state and the one dictating the reality of the Palestinians unilaterally, through the use of military superiority. The Israeli government has no interest in listening to the Palestinians opinion concerning the construction of settlements, checkpoints, the separation wall, natural resources and water, as well as setting policy in the region. All is determined in the Knesset and the Israeli government and the Palestinian resident has no ability to influence the decision-making process from the inside. All this is not mentioned of course in the Committee report, which aligns well withIsraelpolicy and trying to color grey an actually very anti-democratic reality. The publication of the committees conclusions will embarrassIsrael, expose the Israeli occupation and will demonstrate to the world how similar to other regimes in the area,Israelas well is attempting to repress a harsh reality in order to avoid the criticism that might follow it. The report casts a heavy shadow on the way the Israeli legal system is perceived as well as presents it as one that collaborates with fabricated legal definitions, their underlying motive is to continue to occupy the territories “legally” and “democratically”.
Peace Now believes that Prime Minister Netanyahu will not align with the report conclusions and might even try to shelve it as those that have contradicted pervious agreements before.