“After Notes” on the Middle East
Published on: July 12, 2012
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  • It’s beyond me how you can describe the Levy report as “possibly the most important recent development” in the Middle East. It’s as important as the Sasson report to which you link (Kurtzer piece) – indeed, it’s the right’s answer to this report. You echo Kurtzer by claiming: “In many ways the settlements have worked to subtly undermine the rule of law in Israel over the years, but this represents a whole new level of damage.” To be sure, this is an old mantra of Israel’s tattered peace camp (to which I used to belong until the Al Aksa intifada), but frequent repetition doesn’t make it true.

    I’m sure there are also examples of US policies were you could assemble teams of retired law experts/judges to get legal opinions justifying right or left policies – well, in fact, you just had the Supreme Court decision on healthcare, which could also have gone the other way. So the fact that there are conflicting views on the legality of X or Y isn’t a uniquely Israeli phenomenon… For the US, one could e.g. also cite conflicting legal views on Guantanamo, drone strikes, — or perhaps this one: http://blogs.the-american-interest.com/wrm/2012/05/13/amateur-hour-at-the-un-mt-rushmore-edition/

    Of course the (far)right that pushed for the Levy report is now ecstatic that they got the report they hoped to get, and they’re now busy pushing for its implementation – and for most, the ultimate goal is the annexation of the West Bank.

    So by writing that the “Knesset has not accepted this report, yet, but given its makeup it is quite likely to do so,” you’re basically saying that the current Knesset is ready to move in this direction. I can’t believe that you really believe that.

    Let’s look at some facts on the ground:
    As is well-known and acknowledged by even the most left-wing human rights organizations and the EU, Israel’s relentless settlement building over the past 4 decades has resulted in barely 2% of built-up area beyond the so-called “Green Line,” i.e. the 1967 “border” with the Jordanian-annexed West Bank, including East Jerusalem. Polls and elections results have shown for many years that in Israel, there is no popular or political majority for annexing the West Bank; furthermore, some 98% of the Palestinian population of Gaza/West Bank is living under Hamas/PA rule, while only about 60 000 Palestinians live in the West Bank area C (40% of West Bank territory) under Israeli administration.

    All this becomes totally irrelevant because a committee of 3 retired law professionals issues a report to counter the findings of a previous report???

  • John Barker

    “Despite efforts by some in the West—and amazingly even by some in the American intelligence community—to characterize the Muslim Brotherhood as a secular democratic organization,…”

    I have often wondered about the predilection of many intellectuals to replace critical analysis with wishful thinking or ideology. Consider how successful the agents of the Comintern were in making Stalin a hero of the Western Left in the thirties.

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