Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has decided to bury the Levy Report, which recommends legalizing most unauthorized settlement outposts in the West Bank and making it easier for existing settlements to expand, a senior politician who spoke with the premier about the issue told Haaretz yesterday.
Since the Levy Report was submitted, on June 21, Netanyahu has made great efforts to downplay its conclusions. Officials in Netanyahu’s inner circle told several cabinet ministers that the main problem was the report’s finding that the Fourth Geneva Convention, which governs the treatment of occupied territory, does not apply to the West Bank because the West Bank is not in fact occupied territory.
Officially Israel has always held that the Geneva Convention does not apply to the West Bank, although it has pledged to honor the document’s humanitarian provisions. But Netanyahu fears that raising the issue now would generate a major international controversy.
On the other hand, adopting the rest of the Levy Report without adopting the section discussing whether the West Bank is occupied territory would be construed as a de facto admission that Israel is in fact an occupying power.
For more, go to Haaretz.com