What he does is downplays the real impact he thinks the report will have: “In fact, in all probability, nothing will ever come of this report… My bet is that [the government] won’t [act on the report], this will be consigned to the massive vault of reports that caused a minor media shitstorm and were subsequently forgotten.”
The problem with that is simple. There are already pressures lining up within the coalition, and on the further right, to support implementing the core findings of the report to reinforce Jewish settlements in the Palestinian territories, as Ynet reports:
While Netanyahu is likely to ask the Ministerial Committee on Settlements to review the committee’s recommendations prior to any decision on the matter, many in the government, however, welcomed the report’s findings.
Committee member and Environmental Protection Minister Gilad Erdan urged Netanyahu to call an urgent session of the Settlements Committee in order to “formulate a policy that will remove the uncertainty which is clouding the lives of thousands of families.” [...]
Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz echoed the sentiment [...]
Habayit Hayehudi Chairman Rabbi Prof. Daniel Hershkowitz … said that the government should “treat the Levy Report as its new creed and not deviate from it one iota. [...]
MK Uri Ariel (National Union) called the Levy Report “One of the most worthy and just reports ever penned… It aims to right the historical wrong introduced by the Sasson Report.
MK is right: Israel won’t be imploding today. But if the reaction from government ministers is anything to go by there will be action, or at least Netanyahu’s hand may be forced further than he’d like, especially as peace talks might be starting to begin again.
This isn’t something the Right wants to go away. It vindicates what they’ve been saying all along (‘there is no occupation’) and what they’ve been doing all along (treating the West Bank as a de facto extension of Israel itself despite the very different legal status conferred on it).
In fact, the Ynet report also discusses the radical departure from the current interpretation of the legal status of settlements and settlement outposts in the West Bank, based on the Sasson report delivered to right-wing Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in 2005:
The committee’s findings stand to significantly change the legal reality in the West Bank, especially when compared to the 2005 Sasson Report on construction in the West Bank, which deemed 120 outposts as illegal.
“I was very surprised,” Attorney Talia Sasson, who penned the 2005 report, told Ynet. “How can this report, which is supposed to reflect the current situation, fail to represent the situation that has been upheld by the High Court of Justice for the past 45 years?”
The report further states that fostering Israeli settlement in the West Bank is not in violation of international law, but according to Sasson, “In 2005, the ICC ruled that all Israeli settlements in the area were illegal.
“This isn’t a question of politics. This was a court ruling and the report should have reflected that, regardless of who is heading the committee or what the panel’s political views are,” she said.
The Zionist Right prefers land to democracy. That’s fine. But it’s not Zionism. And it won’t enable the Jewish-democratic state of Israel to exist far into the future.