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West Bank outpost (archives) Photo: AFP
West Bank outpost (archives) Photo: AFP
 
 

Levy Report serves Israel haters

Op-ed: J Street president says legalizing West Bank outposts would endanger Israel's future as Jewish state

Jeremy Ben-Ami
Published: 11.01.12, 10:23 / Israel Opinion

For a moment there is appeared as though the Levy Report was shelved, but we have recently learned that parts of the report, which advised to legalize West Bank outposts, may be brought to the cabinet's approval. Adopting all or some of the report's recommendations would endanger Israel's future.

 

They can place us on a slippery slope towards one state, which may or may not be democratic and may not be Jewish. These recommendations would also hurt Israel's standing in the international community.

 

As someone who has been a part of the discussion about Israel in the international arena I know that Israel needs friends. I can clearly see how we can create a consensus and cross-border partnerships in support of Israel.

 

The Levy Report's recommendations cross the boundaries within which Israel can maneuver. Judge Edmond Levy's recommendation to legalize Jewish outposts and his assertion that Jews have a legal right to settle in the West Bank create an incomprehensible gap between Israel and the global consensus. Should the Israeli government adopt his recommendations, the country would be further isolated from the global mainstream.

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In order to shore up international support for Israel's right to Jerusalem and its refusal to allow Palestinian refugees back into its territory, the country must maneuver within the internationally-recognized framework - the 1967 lines, UN Resolution 242 and land swaps.

 

Just as the Israeli government cannot convince the world that the earth is flat, it will not be able to create a narrative that is detached from the international viewpoints, particularly when these viewpoints are expressed by its close allies the US, Canada and Germany.

 

The position that is expressed in the Levy Report will make it difficult for Israel and the defenders of the Jewish homeland (such as the organization I represent) to deal with those who hate and attack it. We mustn't give them more weapons.

 

But even more importantly, the Levy Report's recommendations threaten Israel's future as a Jewish and democratic state. As a Jewish-American pro-Israeli lobby, we work in the US to bolster Israel and help secure its future as a Jewish and democratic country. And there is only one way to do this: The two-state solution.

 

In Israel, the months leading up to the elections will be accompanied by attempts to fan the flames – just as the right-wing politicians are doing by promoting the Levy Report's recommendations.

 

 

But we must not allow the election campaign to jeopardize Israel's status and future as a Jewish and democratic state.

 

Prime Minister Netanyahu, who understands the international arena very well, knows that as far as the international community is concerned, adopting the Levy Report means that Israel is adopting extremist positions at the expense of moderates. Therefore, making practical use of this report would cause immense damage to our one and only homeland.

 

Instead of prompting the legalization of outposts and expansion of settlements in Judea and Samaria, Israelis and supporters of Israel worldwide should see a brave leadership that will advance a peace initiative and deal with the great challenges the country will be facing in the near future.

 

Jeremy Ben-Ami is the founder and president of J Street

 

 

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