July 2012, Week 2


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Tue, 10 Jul 2012 23:24:14 -0400
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Settlements a Threat to Israel, Peres Says

Jewish Telegraph Agency
July 10, 2012


Israeli President Shimon Peres called West Bank settlements a
threat to Israel.

The remarks, made Tuesday at the annual ceremony in memory of
Zionism founder Theodor Herzl, appeared to address a report
released Sunday that said "Israel does not meet the criteria
of `military occupation' as defined under international law"
in the West Bank, and that therefore settlements and West
Bank outposts are legal.

"It is doubtful that a Jewish state without a Jewish majority
 can remain Jewish," Peres said, inferring that settlements
 would lead to the inextricable inclusion of the Palestinians
 living on the West Bank.

The Obama administration criticized the findings of the Levy
Committee report.

"We do not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli
settlement activity and we oppose any effort to legalize
settlement outposts," State Department spokesman Patrick
Ventrell told reporters Monday evening in answer to a
question about the Levy Committee report. Ventrell added that
the State Department is "concerned about it, obviously."

U.S. Deputy Secretary of State William Burns could bring up
the report during meetings this week in Israel. Burns will be
there with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during her
visit to the region.

The Levy Committee, which was formed by Prime Minister
Benjamin Netanyahu and headed by former Israeli Supreme Court
Justice Edmond Levy, called in its 89-page report for the
legalization of all outposts and allowing people who built
homes on Palestinian-owned land to pay compensation to the
alleged owners, recommends changing the legal regulations
concerning Jewish settlement in the West Bank in the areas of
zoning, demolitions and building.

Dovish Jewish groups in the United States criticized the

Americans for Peace Now in a statement called on the
government of Israel "to repudiate the findings of the
commission it appointed to address the problem of illegal
outposts in the West Bank." APN added that Israel "would
cause terrible damage to its international standing, to its
relationship with the United States, and to prospects for
peace with the Palestinians and the Arab world" if the
government adopted the report.

J Street called on the Israelis "to reject the committee's
recommendations and to choose instead a path that leads to
two states, thereby securing both Israel's Jewish and
democratic future."

The findings of the committee are subject to the review and
approval of Israeli Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein.

Netanyahu established the committee in January after settler
leaders called for a response to the 2005 Sasson Report on
illegal outposts, which concluded that more than 100 West
Bank settlements and outposts constructed from the 1990s and
forward were illegal.


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