The Levy Commission in Israel, has just announced that Israel has a right to build in the areas of Judea and Samaria. This of course has led the US State Department and many around the world to have massive conniption fits. It has led to a group of prominent Jewish-Americans (doves and hawks) to write a letter to the PM of Israel telling him not to legalize the settlements. Honestly, people need to take a step back.
The truth of the matter is that the Levy Commission just outlined the international legal precedents and treaties that have always been relevant to the issue. The Levy Commission didn’t say anything new. By the way, if Israel didn’t think the settlements were legal why would they be building them in the first place? The Israeli government outlines where they want the settlements to go and who can and cannot build settlements. Of course Israel thinks its settlements are legal…or Jerusalem wouldn’t tear down the settlements they deem illegal….Actions speak louder than words.
When you have a non-partner for peace, the Palestinians, that has decided that they don’t need to make any concessions for peace, there actually comes a time when you really tell them to “go fly a kite.” There comes a time when you lay your cards openly on the table and tell the world, including the idiots in the US State Department, that your “peace process” sucks and we are going to take matters into our own hands. No more concessions on Israel’s part. Either the Arabs come with the idea of a truly negotiated peace in mind, or quite frankly the unilateral move you want from Israel, might not be the one you had been hoping for.
Yes, the settler movement wants Netanyahu to use the Levy Commission to annex all of Judea and Samaria. Netanyahu isn’t stupid. The majority of the Israeli electorate does not want all of the area of Judea and Samaria to remain under Israeli control. In fact Areas A and B are already run by the Palestinians, why go backward? They want the Palestinians to rule themselves. Netanyahu isn’t going to risk his new coalition to align himself with a very small minority in Israel.
What the Levy Commission does, however, is tell the world that the armistice lines are not acceptable. That it is not even the place to start, no matter what the US State Department, the EU, the UN, Clinton and Obama think. That the settlement blocks of Area C are, and will remain, part of Israel in the event of a negotiated solution and Jerusalem, undivided, will remain the capital of the State of Israel. The Levy Commission tells everyone the whys and wherefores.
In truth, Netanyahu also knows that without the hope that there will be at two-state solution it will openly mean war..something he does not want. Netanyahu is playing his hand again very well at the moment. Of course as with everything in the Middle East, the Levy Commission, is also a sword of Damocles…the mettle of the man will be just how good he is at avoiding the knife-edge.