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December 3, 2015 3:21 pm

Israel Draws Up Document Justifying Legality of Settlements, Property Claims to West Bank

avatar by Ruthie Blum

The settlement bloc of Ariel in the West Bank (Judea-Samaria). Photo: Wikipedia.

The settlement bloc of Ariel in the West Bank (Judea-Samaria). Photo: Wikipedia.

Israel is preparing a document providing the legal justification for Israeli settlements, Israel’s Channel 2 reported on Thursday evening.

According to the report, the document – which spells out why settlement construction in the West Bank is completely legitimate and does not violate international law — will be translated into multiple languages and distributed to all Israeli embassies in the world.

The document is part of an initiative spearheaded by Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely, who is guiding the Ministry’s legal team.

Channel 2 highlighted certain clauses of the document, among them passages stating that Israel’s property claims to Judea and Samaria are valid, as the land “was never under the legitimate sovereignty of any country,” and  because the “Jewish affinity to Judea and Samaria is thousands of years old.” The settlements, according to the document, are not new; nor do they constitute “colonization.”

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According to Channel 2, the document also says that the settlements were established under the supervision of the Supreme Court, and that the Disengagement – Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza in 2005 – was a unilateral political move, not the fulfillment of any kind of legal obligation.

Hotovely, according to the report, is going to convene legal minds from across the world to examine the document, which is being undertaken with the knowledge of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has also been serving as Foreign Minister since the forming of his new government less than a year ago.

The document is based almost entirely on the Levy Report, Channel 2 claimed, referring to the 2012 “Report on the Legal Status of Building in Judea and Samaria,” authored by a three-member judicial committee headed by former Israeli Supreme Court Justice Edmund Levy, which concluded that Israel’s presence in the West Bank is not an “occupation,” and that settlements are legal under international law.

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