NY Times: Netanyahu should reject legalization of settlements

NY Times: Netanyahu should reject legalization of settlements

Editorial warns of implications on Iranian front, says large Israeli coalition should be used to 'promote peace'

Aaron Kalman is a former writer and breaking news editor for the Times of Israel

The New York Times called upon Israel to reject the findings of the Levy report, which had determined that most West Bank outposts should be legalized, saying their acceptance would cause international attention to shift away from Iran’s nuclear program at a crucial time.

In an editorial piece on Wednesday, the paper said the timing could be more important in this case than the legality. So long as the peace process is stuck, the findings of the committee headed by former Supreme Court justice Edmond Levy could be disastrous, the paper opined.

“Although nonbinding, the commission’s recommendations are bad law, bad policy and bad politics,” the editorial stated, and called upon Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to “firmly reject” the findings.

Netanyahu formed a special committee to study the report.

The report endorsed the state’s legal right to settle in the West Bank, and suggested that the government legalize many of the existing outposts, as well as stopping the military from evicting settlers off Palestinian lands.

After delineating the problems within the report — according to Israeli law and legal precedents as well as the accepted international legal stance on the matter — the New York Times called on the prime minister to reject the findings of the report.

In addition to citing the need for a peacefully negotiated, two-state solution, and the dangers that emerge from Israel maintaining its military rule over the Palestinian population, the editorial piece also cited the need to focus on Iran’s nuclear program.

If Netanyahu doesn’t reject the finding, there “is likely to be new international anger at Israel. That could divert attention from Iran just when the world is bearing down with sanctions and negotiations to curb Tehran’s nuclear program.”

The piece cited the US State Department’s stance against the report’s findings and called for Netanyahu to use his large coalition “to advance a peace agreement with the Palestinians.”

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