Over the past few years, the "Settlement Enterprise" in Judea and Samaria has been characterized by a good deal of "shooting from the hip." Every once in a while, some kind of declaration is made, a target is defined, an arrow sharpened, aimed and then, a second before the arrow hits the center, the target is changed.
Initially, the talk centered on annexing Maale Adumim, with much energy spent on hitting that target, but then the goal moved to 'settlement blocs", then to unlimited building in Area C - and now a new goal has been defined, that of extending sovereignty over Judea and Samaria.
I believe strongly in the "settlement enterprise," I am an integral part of it, and I am also worried about it. I am worried because there is no consistent policy, concerned because the Sovereignty Law we are pushing for is dangerous as it includes an unknown number of Palestinian Arabs – this, when there is a better plan on the table, one that is well thought out, provides an answer to the problems in the field of international law and allows significant growth and the preservation of rising Jewish demographics in Judea and Samaria.
Late Supreme Court Judge Edmond Levy, in the Levy Report commissioned but never adopted by the Netanyahu government, provided the best solution. That report should be our main target, one we must demand that the government adopt. The Report is a masterpiece, it has an answer to the Palestinian Arab question, it makes no attempt to resuscitate the Oslo Accords, it provides rationale and momentum to the "settlement enterprise" and it is time for us to target it and make its adoption, in the best interests of Israel's government, our main goal.
Israeli citizens have been living in Judea and Samaria for fifty years. They serve in the IDF, pay taxes, celebrate Independence Day, fulfilling their responsibilities toward the state – and the state? It acts as though their relationship is just a temporary phase.
Maybe there are those who expect the Turks to return to the region and allow the implementation of Ottoman Law once more. There may be more optimistic observers who pray for Her Majesty's forces to bring legal salvation to Judea and Samaria by means of the House of Lords. There are even some who look back nostalgically at the period when the Jordanians controlled the region and see that as the solution.
Every one of these long gone regimes has contributed laws, by-laws, prohibitions and regulations to the region to form an opaque legal morass that advances nothing and helps no one, neither the Jewish nor the Palestinian public.
It seems clear to everyone, and is a hoped-for conclusion, that the situation is not going to change and that the Jewish People are going to continue to be the sovereign power in the region. It is time then for the Israeli government to internalize the fact that there is no way to turn the clock back, time for it to take a courageous stand and apply Israeli law to the legal jungle that has been allowed to grow unchecked for the past 50 years.
The Levy Report is the most fitting option for the government, which can adopt it and decide to follow its recommendations from that moment onward. Adopting the report will bring order to the issue of construction and law enforcement, provide an answer to anyone who feels his property rights have been abrogated, and will act as the suitable "restart" for the entire "settlement project," a project that will become legal and able to withstand all legal examination.
There are those in whose opinion the Edmond Levy Report legalizes the illegal. They are committing a grave error. The Report contains sharp criticism for the actions of the political echelons and settlement-lovers who sometimes tended to breach the law in order to build more and implement their policies or ideals.
The Report aims to create order, granting the Jews and the Palestinian Arabs clear and genuine legal tools. Today the Palestinian Arab has to depend on NGOs, the Palestinian Authority and others in order to submit claims about his property rights. The Report suggests giving him clear and simple tools in the case where he can prove that he is the owner of the land in question.
On the other hand, the Report allows Jewish settlement advocates to know exactly what is allowed and what is not, as clearly as black differs from white. That will bring the expulsions and evacuations to an end, stop the struggles that arise after homes have been built and community roots have grown deep. The Edmond Levy Report is the only tool the government can adopt in order to prevent the next uprooting of a Jewish home, neighborhood or the entire region.
The time has come to be Israelis. The Ottoman Empire, British Mandate and Jordanian occupiers are gone forever. We are on our own and the time has come for us to be the ones who provide legal order.