All eyes are on Israel and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Whether he postpones the announced reforms, sweeps them off the table altogether or introduces them immediately: it will affect the survival of his coalition either way.
There has been considerable unrest among Israelis for weeks, and today protesters took to the streets again en masse, according to Israel correspondent Ralph Dekkers. Their main message? “Netanyahu’s announced reforms have been shelved,” he says. “Or at least postponed so a broader deal can be discussed with the opposition.”
That’s a widely shared view, Dekkers says, though he notes that protests have now hardened and demonstrators are demanding Netanyahu leave. But a deal appears to be in the air, he says. “Reforms will be delayed until July, and a controversial far-right minister will be allowed to form a national guard,” Dekkers continues. “A sort of private militia of its own, that’s a very scary move.”
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According to Deckers, such fighters were not expected. He says the minister in question was one of those who fought against the postponement of the reforms. He also had the desire to set up a private army for some time. “The question now is whether the demonstrators in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem will be satisfied with that.”
The conflict surrounding Netanyahu and a proposal to allow politicians to control the judiciary has also drawn US attention. The United States has issued an official warning to Netanyahu. That includes some interest, says foreign commentator Bernard Hummelberg. This, he says, is nothing but general, for it is a rule among allies and democracies not to interfere in the internal affairs of other nations.
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Although this is an internal matter for Israel, he thinks. “However, Biden’s spokesman has announced that the United States will indeed intervene.”
After all, the relationship between the United States and Israel is not only an open, transparent, traditional friendship, but also because the military and intelligence ties are enormous. ‘It can be traced to all sorts of factors,’ Hummelburg continues. ‘Take, for example, the strikes carried out by the Israeli Air Force on Syrian and Iranian targets. It was all coordinated by the Americans. Not to mention Iron Dome. All that was created with the cooperation of the Americans.’
What is it about?
But what is the big problem? The right-wing government wants to pass a package of reforms that would allow the Knesset (Israeli parliament) to overturn Supreme Court rulings. This means politicians can always have the last word. This is seen by experts as a problem because Israel has no constitution, senate or human rights court,” Israel correspondent Ralph Deckers said. “The only real review of checks and balances comes from the Supreme Court. If that power is taken away, according to the demonstrators, a dictatorship will arise.’
Also under discussion is a law to change the composition of the Judicial Appointments Commission. ‘First judges, lawyers and politicians appointed judges, now politicians have veto power.
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