Netanyahu with Levy
Photo: Amos Ben-Gershom, GPO
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed on Monday that he won't table the discussion about a controversial report asserting the legality of Israeli settlements.
"I will bring the report before the Ministerial Committee on Settlement Affairs and we will decide on it," Netanyahu told the press on Monday.
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In a report that was made public earlier in the day, a panel commissioned by the prime minister ruled that the Israeli settlements in the West Bank are legal since there is no provision in the international law that forbids having a Jewish population in the area.
The committee, which was headed by Supreme Court Justice (Ret.) Edmond Levy, also called for the legalization of most of the unlawful outpost in the West Bank.
Dr. Alan Baker, an international law expert who was part of Levy's committee said that the panel listened to officials from across the political spectrum, and stressed that the team's agenda was strictly legal, never political.
"Our work was based in international, Jordanian, Israeli and even Ottoman laws and touched upon all issues relevant to land and territories," he added.
Netanyahu, who took questions during a press conference on food security, said he "greatly appreciated the committee's discreet work."
PM slams Abbas
The prime minister also addressed the campaign calling for universal army service, pledging to "significantly increase the number of recruits without pitting one sector against another." He expressed optimism over the prospects of drafting legislation to that effect.
He also took the opportunity to criticize Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas for his decision to travel to Iran later this summer.
"I'm not going to make any unilateral gestures, especially not for the sake of some meeting," he said. "I want to renew the negotiations but Abbas has missed every opportunity. A trip to Tehran definitely won't promote peace."
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