All eyes are on Israel and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Whether he postpones his announced reforms, sweeps them completely off the table, or introduces them immediately: it will affect the survival of his coalition either way.
For weeks there has been considerable unrest among Israelites, and today protesters have again taken to the streets in droves, according to Israeli correspondent Ralph Dekkers. Their main message? “Let the reforms announced by Netanyahu be swept away,” he said. “Or at least postponed, so that a broader agreement can be discussed with the opposition.”
And that’s a widely held view, Dekkers says, though he notes that the protests have now hardened and that Netanyahu’s departure is also being demanded by protesters. But a deal seems to be in the air, he said. “The reforms would be postponed until July, and in exchange a controversial far-right minister would be authorized to set up a national guard,” Dekkers continues. “Kind of a private militia for himself, and that’s a pretty scary step.”
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According to Dekkers, such a militia was not to be expected. He specifies that the minister in question was one of the fiercest opponents of the postponement of the reforms. He would also have had the desire to mount a private army for some time. “Now the question is whether the protesters in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem will be happy with it.”
The row over Netanyahu and the proposal to allow the justice system to be regulated by politicians has also drawn US attention. So much so that the United States issued an official warning to Netanyahu. And that involves quite a bit of interest, says foreign commentator Bernard Hammelburg. He says it’s anything but common, “because among allies and democracies it’s a rule not to interfere in the internal affairs of other countries.”
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And this while it is indeed an internal affair of Israel, he thinks. “Nevertheless, a Biden spokesperson announced that the United States was indeed interfering.”
Especially since the relationship between the United States and Israel is not only a visible, open and traditional friendship, but also because the military and intelligence relations are enormous. “And it shows in all sorts of factors,” Hammelburg continues. “Take, for example, the attacks carried out by the Israeli Air Force on Syrian and Iranian targets. All of this is coordinated by the Americans. Not to mention the Iron Dome. All this was developed in collaboration with the Americans.
What is it about?
But what is the big problem? The right-wing government wants to pass a set of reforms that will allow the Knesset (Israeli parliament) to overturn decisions of the Supreme Court. This means politicians can always have the final say. “And that’s seen as a problem by experts, because Israel doesn’t have a constitution or a senate or a human rights court,” Israeli correspondent Ralph Dekkers said. “The only real review of checks and balances comes from the Supreme Court. According to the protesters, if this power is taken away, a dictatorship will arise.
In addition, a law is under discussion which modifies the composition of the committee which appoints the judges. “At first it was judges, lawyers and politicians who appointed a judge, and now politicians would have a veto.”
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