MK Hotovely
MK HotovelyIsrael news photo: Flash 90

MK Tzipi Hotovely (Likud) announced on Monday that she intends to submit a bill to the Knesset which adopts the principles of a report filed by an official committee that states Judea and Samaria (Yehuda and Shomron) are not "occupied territories.”

The committee, which was headed by retired Supreme Court justice Edmund Levy, concluded that from a historical and legal prospective, and considering agreements with the Palestinian Authority, the international law against “occupation” does not apply to Judea and Samaria.

It noted 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.

Hotovely’s proposed bill will require the establishment of a judicial tribunal in Judea and Samaria which will be given the responsibility of discussing matters related to land ownership, the establishment of an Israeli land registry in Judea and Samaria and applying Israeli building and planning laws on Judea and Samaria.

In the explanatory notes to the bill Hotovely writes, “For many years Judea and Samaria, which were liberated by Israel in a defensive war in 1967, were considered by legal experts around the world as occupied territories. These areas, which are the birthplace of Israel and the place in which the nation’s father, Abraham, had settled, are considered by some jurists to be land belonging to Jordan, even though they were never a legitimate part of any Arab state, including Jordan.”

The notes go on to read, “On July 9, 2012, a report on the status of construction in Judea and Samaria, written by a team of jurists headed by retired Supreme Court justice  Edmund Levy, was submitted to the Prime Minister. The report states explicitly that ‘We have no doubt that from the perspective of international law, establishing communities in Judea and Samaria is not illegal.’ This bill comes to adopt the recommendations of the Edmund Levy team.”

Hotovely adds, “After years of the State being a prisoner of the twisted perception of the biased Talia Sasson report, it's time to change the starting point. The people of Israel are not occupiers in the Land of Israel – in Judea and Samaria as in Tel Aviv and in all parts of Jerusalem.”

Hotovely said that in the coming days, she intends to sign members from all the right-wing factions in the Knesset to her proposed bill.

Meanwhile, Israel's leftists were very upset on Monday over the report. MK Shlomo Molla (Kadima) reacted sharply to the report, saying, "I am warning the Prime Minister and the ministers not to adopt Edmund Levy's report because it will bury the peace process for good."

"The report badly tarnishes Israel's image and prevents all possibility of advancing toward the peace process," Molla added. "This report only supports the settlers' rampages and gives a stamp of approval to a transgression of the law."

Yesh Din wrote that the members of the Levy committee "must have fallen into the rabbit hole, and their report was written in Wonderland, in which the laws of the absurd rule – there is no occupation, are no outposts, and apparently there is no Palestinian people."

MK Yariv Levin (Likud) welcomed the conclusions of the panel, saying, “I think what is now required is that the government adopt the report as a government decision. First and foremost, this report makes a statement that attempts to present the settlement enterprise as being contrary to international law are wrong.”