by Shlomo Piotrokovsky
Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked of the Jewish Home party spoke on Thursday at the Dead Sea Directors Conference, where she asserted that it is impossible to adopt the historic 2012 Levy Report at the current juncture in time.
Minister says report defining Israel's Judea-Samaria presence as legal is 'impossible' now, says region's law enforcement is unbiased.
She began by saying, "this coalition is right-wing, and comes to rule according to the agenda of the right, not of the left."
When asked about the management of Israel's Biblical heartland of Judea and Samaria, which remains under military rule given that it has yet to be annexed since having been liberated in the 1967 Six Day War, Shaked said "we work together with the Defense Minister."
"They lead but we are very dominant. There is cooperation and it's significant and important," she added. Queried regarding law enforcement in the region, she opined, "I don't think that there is harsher enforcement against Jews in Judea and Samaria than there is against Arabs."
The statement comes on the background of the complaints of activists, who have documented systematic illegal Arab building in serious offenses that have yet to be acted on, even though in many cases the structures have demolition orders on them. Meanwhile many Jewish buildings are demolished despite having been bought in full, in many cases in the name of a non-present alleged Arab owner.
Addressing the destruction of Jewish buildings in Judea and Samaria, Shaked said, "some of the crises like Migron and Ulpana occurred because of problems that they built, and some because of responses of the state to the High Court." She said that in her role she works to give quick responses by the state in such cases to increase the chances of legalizing the construction, adding, "we are examining things regarding the chances of saving the nine homes in Ofra and Amona, but the chance isn't high."
Shaked then made a significant policy statement, stating that under the current circumstances it is impossible to adopt the Levy Report through a governmental decision.
The report proved the Jewish presence in Judea and Samaria is legal according to international law, and many have questioned why the ostensibly right-wing government has yet to adopt it. Voices calling for its adoption have included Likud Minister Ofir Akunis last October, and the Yachad - Ha'am Itanu and Otzma Yehudit joint list which just missed out of the last elections.
Shaked herself has called to annex the regions classified as Area C by the 1994 Oslo Accords following her party chair Naftali Bennett's plan. She outlined the plan in late 2014 on Channel 2's "Kitzis Show" hosted by Eyal Kitzis, explaining it involves creating a full Arab autonomy in Areas A and B and removing security checkpoints from the vast array of blocs that would have a "border" hundreds or thousands of miles long. She conceded that the plan would create a "Palestinian state" that she thought would later become a "confederation with Jordan."
Despite having been commissioned by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, two consecutive coalition governments headed by him have yet to adopt the Levy Report and thereby fully recognize Israel's legal presence in Judea and Samaria.
"Terrorists can't be expelled abroad"
In the conference on Thursday, Shaked went on to speak about policies that can be taken to fight the current wave of Arab terrorism, including the expulsion of the families of terrorists.
"The state of Israel is working according to international law, and it is possible to expel terrorists. (Former Prime Minister Yitzhak) Rabin did it," she said. "It isn't possible to expel the families of terrorists who were not involved."
Noting on the 1,027 terrorists released in the 2011 Shalit deal, she said that Israel was able to recapture recidivist terrorists in Judea and Samaria following the deal, but not in Gaza, and therefore said, "expelling to Gaza is not a solution, better to Judea-Samaria, in that way we have control."
"Expulsion to outside of Israel will fall in the High Court," she said, indicating that the government would not be able to expel terrorists abroad due to the interference of the court.
Shaked also said she was working to reduce the responsibilities of her Justice Ministry, saying, "we are weak on many things. We have to reduce our control and reduce the dependency on the Justice Ministry."
The minister then addressed the coalition dispute over the responsibilities of Deputy Defense Minister Eli Ben-Dahan (Jewish Home) over the IDF Civil Administration, which has authority in Judea and Samaria, and said that the decision not to grant Ben-Dahan control was a breach of a coalition promise.
While noting that her party has raised the matter with Netanyahu, she said, "the relations in the coalition are like the relations in a family, and you have to think about what you want to make an uproar over."
"I hope that Jewish Home will rise in the coming elections. We took an electoral blow (in the last elections). The roles in the government are significant and the spirit (in the party) has changed a little. The coalition is stable and successful and it takes time to move the ship."
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