Israeli parliament passes divisive law weakening Supreme Court
Recently, the passing of a bill this week by the Israeli parliament that restricts the Supreme Court’s powers garnered domestic opposition and even international calls for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his far-right government to reconsider.
After a contentious debate, the third and final vote on the bill was approved 64-0. The opposition boycotted it in opposition and left the chamber while yelling "shame" following it.
The bill forbids the Supreme Court from overturning executive branch decisions as part of a larger effort to reform the judiciary.
The existing "reasonability" requirement, according to its proponents, gives unelected courts enormous control over the choices made by elected officials. However, opponents of the government claim that it eliminates a crucial aspect of the court's monitoring authority and paves the way for corruption and wrongful nominations.
The push for the bill, months in the making, has brought thousands of Israelis to the streets, with the country’s opposition rallying around a call to "protect democracy", and maintaining that the present government and its control of the Knesset mark a departure from the norms of Israeli parliamentary democracy.
In recent years, Israel has passed a variety of laws that codify discrimination against Palestinians and restrict their rights. Inequality in Israel is institutionalized, and full equality for Jewish and Palestinian citizens is not guaranteed. According to the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, "the right to equality is not yet enshrined in law regarding most aspects of life."
Israel does not have a formal, written constitution, but a number of "Basic Laws" issued throughout the years deal with important themes. Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty, adopted in 1992, is the closest that Israel's founding legislation comes to a stated commitment to equality.
The Basic Law also has a provision that permits rights to be infringed "by a law befitting the values of the State of Israel," which can be used as justification for "giving significant weight to Israel's nature as a Jewish state and its goals, at the expense of the fundamental rights concerned."
On July 25, the Knesset expanded a 2010 law that allows screening and rejecting applicants deemed "unsuitable to the applicant's social and cultural makeup". According to observers, this essentially made it simpler for municipalities to stop Palestinian Israeli citizens from relocating to communities with a majority of Jews. Many of these communities were established on or close to Palestinian towns and villages that had been abandoned because their residents had been driven out or fled prior to or during the 1948 Nakba.
A bill that designates Israel as "the national home of the Jewish people" with Hebrew as its official language and Jerusalem as its capital, including the illegally annexed eastern sector, was approved by the Knesset in July 2018.
The measure states that "the right to exercise national self-determination in the State of Israel is unique to the Jewish people," which denies Palestinians any national rights and further institutionalized racial discrimination against them.
Thousands of people protested against the government's plans by marching from Tel Aviv to West Jerusalem.
The media said that at least 34 protesters were detained nationwide on Monday night and that water cannon deployment resulted in multiple injuries.
In numerous locations, there were conflicts between the police and the protesters. Several routes in the nation reportedly had opponents of the judicial reform blocked on them. Hundreds of people marched on a major highway in Tel Aviv in the evening.
Protests Against the law
On Saturday, tens of thousands of Israelis protesting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's plans for judicial reform marched to Jerusalem in an effort to put pressure on his right-wing administration to drop a bill that would limit the Supreme Court's authority.
Israel is currently experiencing one of its worst political crises as a result of the government's attempt to overhaul the court, which has resulted in widespread demonstrations, damaged the economy, and raised concerns among Western partners.
Under a sweltering July sun, demonstrators trudged up the twisting roadway to Jerusalem while carrying blue-and-white Israeli flags, accompanied by the pounding of drums and anti-government chanting.
"Democracy is not as certain as it used to be," declared Ido Golan, a central Israel protester who attended with his partner and two small children, one of whom was carried on his back in a baby carrier. "It’s very important for us and also for them to know we did what we could to save democracy."
Water Deficit in Palestine
This comes after Israel and the occupied territories have been experiencing not only a ravaging conflict between them but also a water deficit that is affecting the Palestinian people.
Decades of Israeli occupation have left Palestinians struggling for access to clean and fresh water due to Israel's control of most of the freshwater resources in the now-occupied West Bank. Rising temperatures and rising sea levels have proven to make life more difficult for Palestinians.
Monitoring groups say that Israel and the Occupied Palestinian territories have a water deficit. Stating that they use more water than can be replaced naturally. As temperatures increase, more droughts are occurring, and those who control the water control the people.
Israel's authorities have control over turning on and off the taps in the occupied Palestinian territories.
In Gaza, more than 2 million Gazans live at the water's edge, but according to monitoring groups, around 97% of the natural water supplies are undrinkable.
BDS supporters banned from entering israel
Palestinians and foreign nationals were banned from receiving temporary residency permits in Israel in March 2017 if they or the organizations that they belong to publicly endorsed the boycott of Israel or its various illegal settlements. This ban has further implications for spouses who are vocal about supporting the BDS (the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement), causing them to potentially have their status or permits revoked based on their political opinions.
The goal of BDS is to get Israel to end its occupation of all Palestinian and Arab land and to grant its Palestinian inhabitants the same rights as its Jewish citizens.
2008 Citizenship Law
In July 2022, Israel’s Supreme Court decided that the government can deprive citizens of their rights for acts that constitute a "breach of loyalty. Giving the government the legal means to strip Palestinians of their citizenship and fundamental rights
The new rules mandate compulsory deportation to the West Bank or Gaza when a term is served once citizenship has been revoked. In addition, a similar amendment to the Entry into Israel Law was enacted to permit the loss of status for persons receiving money from the PA, followed by a required expulsion.
As a result, the crucial safeguard that the Supreme Court had insisted upon when it decided whether or not the deprivation power was legal is effectively nullified, making deprivation and deportation inevitable even in situations where a person was born, raised, and has always lived as an Israeli citizen or as a resident of East Jerusalem.
Opinions of the People
Israel has a relatively strong Supreme Court, which proponents of the revisions claim is problematic because Israel has a codified constitution and an upper body of the Knesset. Since the executive and legislative branches are consistently controlled by the same governing coalition, the Supreme Court serves as the only restraint on the power of the Knesset and the government.
The idea is opposed by those who refer to it as a "coup" and claim that by eliminating the most important balances on government action, Israel risks becoming a dictatorship.
The legislative procedure was put on hold earlier this year by Netanyahu, but it was restarted early this month. He has stated that the Israeli people are not represented by the Supreme Court, which has turned into an exclusive, elite organization.
As he prepares for his own corruption trial, where he is accused of fraud, bribery, and breach of trust, critics claim Netanyahu is advancing the makeover in part to shield himself. He says he's done nothing wrong.
Share This Post On
Leave a comment
You need to login to leave a comment. Log-in