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Thu Jul 26, 2012, 01:40 PM


The Left Should Take Pride In ‘Delegitimizing’ The Occupation [View all]

By Caroline Beck

Last week, a protest letter signed by 40 leaders of the American Jewish community and initiated by the Israel Policy Forum was sent to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, urging him not to adopt the recommendations in the Levy Committee’s report. In the letter, they said that the report’s recommendations, if adopted, would jeopardize Israel’s credentials as a democratic state, and harm the chances of achieving a two-state solution.

The Levy Committee’s main findings (page 83 of the report, in Hebrew) are that the laws of occupation do not apply to the West Bank, and that Israel has a right to settle all the land of Judea and Samaria. The report recommends, among other things, that the government of Israel remove administrative obstacles preventing the authorization of new construction in the West Bank, and that it refrain from demolishing unauthorized construction in the West Bank (despite a Supreme Court order), until such construction can be retroactively legalized. The report also recommends that land seized by military order should be utilized for settlement construction, and that the Israeli Civil Administration’s use of the ‘nuisance’ order, issued to halt and remove Israeli settlers who trespass onto private Palestinian agricultural land, be cancelled.

How surprising, then, that in a rebuttal letter to the Israel Policy Forum, Ambassador Alan Baker, a member of the Levy Committee (and former legal advisor to Israel’s Foreign Ministry), accused the letter’s esteemed signatories of adding “fuel to those who seek to delegitimize Israel’s right to exist,” by expressing their “incorrect and ill-advised assumptions about the report.”

The ludicrous conclusions of the Levy Committee’s report will no doubt do enough on their own to discredit its authors and propagators. But accusing people of delegitimization, as Baker accuses the 40 signatories of the IPF letter, will always be a trump card for the right in Israel (and the pro-Israel lobby abroad which supports it) as long as we, the left in Israel (and our liberal two-staters abroad who support us), continue to pretend that it is not our intention to delegitimize.



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