Last updated: 17 October, 2012

Israel PM “may endorse report backing settler outposts”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wants to adopt parts of a controversial report which proposes the government legalise unauthorised settler outposts, Israel’s public radio said on Wednesday.

According to the radio, Netanyahu is looking to adopt some of the principles laid out in the so-called Levy report which was put together by three prominent Israeli jurists and made public in July.

The report concludes that Israel is not “a military occupying power” and that international law does not prohibit the construction or expansion of settlements in the occupied West Bank.

It was roundly denounced by the Palestinians as well as by legal experts.

The radio did not specify exactly which parts the premier was planning to adopt, nor when he would do so, but said it was likely to be put for government approval before the country holds snap elections on January 22.

There was no immediate comment from Netanyahu’s office.

Commissioned by Netanyahu, the Levy Report not only proposes that the government legalise more than 100 outposts, but more importantly it concludes that Israel’s settlement policy in the West Bank is not illegal.

The 89-page document says that while the outposts were built without proper permits, the involvement of government offices and ministries provided “implied agreement” for their construction and that they “can be legalised without the government taking any new decision.”

The international community considers all settlements built in the West Bank and east Jerusalem to be illegal because they are built on territory Israel occupied during the 1967 Six Day War.

But the Israeli government distinguishes between settlements built with all the required permits and outposts set up without them.