In January, 2012, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu appointed a committee to examine the status of Israeli building in Judea and Samaria.
Edmund Levy z”l, 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. Their Report “The Status of Building in Judea and Samaria” – was released on July 8, 2012.
It provides basic legal conclusions:
- Because of both historical and legal factors, the decades-long presence of Israel in Judea and Samaria is not “belligerent occupation”.
- Israel has the legal right to settle in Judea and Samaria.
The accusations currently being leveled by the international community against Israel as a violator of “international law” because of plans to build in eastern Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria are countered by the Levy Report conclusions.
It additionally offers a number of important recommendations, consistent with the conclusions, regarding adjustments in Israeli policies and practices in Judea and Samaria.
These recommendations seek to clarify the rights of Israeli citizens living in Judea and Samaria, who currently find themselves at a serious disadvantage when conducting land transactions in Judea and Samaria. It cannot be overemphasized: The Israeli legal system default in Judea and Samaria favors Arabs claims in land transactions.
When the prime minister was presented with the 90-page Report, he declared, according to one impeccable source, “This is just what we need!” But then contents of the Report were leaked, and the prime minister began to understand the political opposition it might face. He tabled the Report, which was never even been brought before the Ministerial Committee on Settlements for discussion.
Legal Grounds ultimately decided not to base our Campaign on this Report. However, we continue to believe that—as it pulls together evidence of Israel’s rights within one document—it is of significant value.