The New York Times on Wednesday published an editorial criticizing the conclusions adopted by the Levy report,
which states that the Israeli government must promote the legitimization of all West Bank settlements and outposts.
The editorial, titled "Wrong Time for New Settlements", states that "although nonbinding, the commission’s recommendations are bad law, bad policy and bad politics."
According to the newspaper, "Most of the world views the West Bank, which was taken by Israel from Jordan in the 1967 war, as occupied territory and all Israeli construction there as a violation of international law."
The editorial linked the refusal to solve the settlement issue to the Iranian nuclear threat, warning that "if (the report's) conclusions are not firmly rejected by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu,
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.
"That is unsustainable, and it is damaging to Israel’s security and regional peace," the author writes, adding that "now that Mr. Netanyahu has expanded his ruling coalition, his excuse is gone for not ending his counterproductive settlement policy and using his new political clout to advance a peace agreement with the Palestinians."
On Tuesday, the US State Department expressed concern
over the report. State Department Spokesman Patrick Ventrell said that, "The US position on settlements is clear. Obviously, we've seen the reports that an Israeli Government appointed panel has recommended legalizing dozens of Israeli settlements in the West Bank, but we do not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlement activity and we oppose any effort to legalize settlement outposts...We’re concerned about it, obviously."