A Divide Over the Settlements in the West Bank

Wrong Time for New Settlements” (editorial, July 11) rightly criticizes the Levy commission report, which asserts that Israel is not occupying the West Bank and that all Israeli settlements there are legal. Israel’s continued ruling of 2.5 million Palestinians is, as you say, “damaging to Israel’s security and regional peace.”

This report pushes the envelope of legal arguments and in a pointless exercise denies the illegality of settlements. If the report is endorsed, Israel would dig itself into an even deeper hole. Like the proverbial ostrich, it would avoid this reality: Israel cannot remain a secure Jewish democracy without disengaging from the Palestinians. From an Israeli perspective, the two-state solution is imperative and vital.

This report would set back that objective, and the ostrich hole could well become the grave of the Zionist enterprise. Instead, Israel should responsibly prepare to relocate and fairly compensate settlers living outside the settlement blocs, and create a reality of two states for two people.

A Letter to the editor by Gilead Sher

The writer, co-chairman of Blue White Future in Israel, was a peace negotiator and chief of staff to Israel’s prime minister from 1999 to 2001. He is a senior research fellow at the Institute for National Security Studies.