The Committee to Examine the State of Construction in Judea and Samaria, headed by Supreme Court Justice (Ret.) Edmund Levy concluded that there is no “occupation” and that Israeli settlements in the Palestinian territories occupied during the 1967 Middle East conflict do not contradict international law. Edmund Levy’s Committee was appointed by the Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, and the Justice Minister, Professor Yaakov Neeman, against the background of the Supreme Court rulings calling for the eviction of several outposts, including Migron and Givat Assaf. The Committee was requested to advise the government on various aspects, including proceedings for the authorization of illegal construction and the procedure for examining whether or not land is privately owned.
According to Yesh Din, an Israeli human rights organization, “the committee was established with the goal of circumventing the Attorney General and the State Prosecutor’s Office”. Yesh Din also claims that “in effect, the Committee was charged with finding ways to permit the retroactive approval of the establishment of outposts and illegal construction in the settlements.”
As predicted by the human rights organization in May, Edmund Levy’s Committee concluded that “considering agreements with the Palestinian Authority, the international law does not apply to Judea and Samaria (sic.).”
The committee also echoed Israel’s official position noting “that Jordan’s assumed sovereignty over most of Judea and Samaria after the 1948 War for Independence was not legally recognized by the international community, meaning that Israel did not occupy the same land during the Six-Day War in 1967.”
The international community, including Europe and the United States, uphold Israeli presence in the territories it occupied during the 1967 war as a belligerent occupation. This view is in accordance with a number of resolutions adopted by the United Nations General Assembly and Security Council and by the International Conference of the Red Cross.
However, Levy’s committee declared that international law does not apply to West Bank and recommended the government. The committee also suggested that Palestinians and settlers in the West Bank register their land claims within four or five years or lose their rights. In addition it proposed the National Parks Authority to declare thousands of acres in the West Bank as national parks.
The committee’s conclusions will be turned over to the Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein, who has previously said he is not obligated to accept the report’s conclusions and to the newly created ministerial committee on settlement in Judea and Samaria.