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Netanyahu wants to legalize settlements

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An Israeli settler holds the national flag in front of a house built on private Palestinian land in the Ulpana settlement outpost in the West Bank, June 4. The settlers are marched from the Ulpana settlement outpost to Jerusalem to demonstrate against Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's plan to relocate five homes built on private Palestinian land following a order by the Israeli Supreme Court. UPI/Debbie Hill
An Israeli settler holds the national flag in front of a house built on private Palestinian land in the Ulpana settlement outpost in the West Bank, June 4. The settlers are marched from the Ulpana settlement outpost to Jerusalem to demonstrate against Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's plan to relocate five homes built on private Palestinian land following a order by the Israeli Supreme Court. UPI/Debbie Hill | License Photo

JERUSALEM, Oct. 17 (UPI) -- Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu wants to approve portions of a report calling for the legalization of West Bank settlements, Israel Radio said.

The Wednesday radio report said Netanyahu intends to seek approval of portions of the Levy report by a cabinet sanctioned panel. The report issued three months ago by retired Supreme Court Justice Edmond Levy says Israel's presence in the West Bank is not that of an occupying force and legalization of the settlements would comply with international law.

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Netanyahu and his staff have been preparing a resolution that would implement much of the Levy report's conclusions and at the same time avoid international and legal fallout, the report said.

Labor Party leader Shelly Yacimovich slammed Netanyahu, calling the move "a transparent elections scheme," The Jerusalem Post said. Such a move will not aid West Bank settlers or enhance Israel's security, she said.

"Netanyahu's government wants to enslave the state of Israel for the sake of political interests, and we will pay the price for that," Knesset member Yisrael Hasson of the Kadima Party told Israel Radio.

To tone down the opposition, Transport Minister Yisrael Katz of the Likud Party said adopting the report does not mean extending Israel's sovereignty over Jewish settlements in the West Bank, the radio said.

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When the Levy report was published, dozens of American Jewish leaders called Netanyahu to reject it, saying if approved, it could jeopardize the two-state solution and Israel's prestige as a democratic member of the international community, the Times of Israel said.

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