Yesh Din and the Emile Zola Chair for Human Rights today released a report entitled “Unprecedented: A Legal Analysis of the Report of the Committee to Examine the Status of Construction in Judea and Samaria (“the Levy Committee.”)” Written by Attorney Anu Deuel Lusky of Yesh Din’s legal team and the jurist Keren Michaeli from the Emile Zola Chair for Human Rights, the report offers a critical reading and legal analysis of the Levy Committee’s conclusions.
The Levy Committee, headed by the late Supreme Court Justice Edmund Levy, was appointed by the Netanyahu government in February 2012 following political pressure from elements in Israel interested in finding a way to provide retroactive approval for outposts constructed illegally in the West Bank.
The committee headed by Justice Levy attempted to find a juridical solution to the growing number of petitions submitted to the Supreme Court on behalf of Palestinian landowners demanding that the state enforce its laws and demolish illegal construction on private land. The report’s far-reaching conclusions claim that the laws of international occupation do not apply to the West Bank, and that legitimate legal tools exist for approving outposts constructed without permits, even if they were built on private Palestinian land.
A review of the report shows that it chose to ignore hundreds of Supreme Court rulings, dozens of decisions by United Nations bodies and international tribunals, and thousands of articles by international legal experts. All these sources show a rare consensus in the legal community regarding the status of the West Bank as occupied territory. The Levy report does not respond to familiar legal principles and, accordingly, its conclusions lack any legal foundation.
As part of the solutions proposed in its report, the Levy Committee recommends that the authorities recognize the presence of an “administrative promise” made by the government of Israel as a legal tool for approving the outposts. The report “Unprecedented” presents the conditions required for “administrative promises” and concludes that although the state encouraged and financed the establishment of the outposts, the relevant conditions were not met. Moreover, adopting the Levy report’s recommendation would gravely violate or even eliminate Palestinians’ right to property.
The Levy Committee suggests that when an outpost was established on private Palestinian land, the possibility should be considered of confiscating the land and transferring it for use by the settlers who seized it unlawfully. Adopting this recommendation would not only be perceived as legitimizing those elements that willfully broke the law, but also constitutes a dramatic departure from the basic principle in any democracy that the confiscation of private land is possible only for public purposes”.
Read Full Report Here [PDF]