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Israel PM Netanyahu drops major part of controversial judicial overhaul plan amid widespread protests

"The idea of an override clause, where the parliament, the Knesset, can override the decisions of the Supreme Court with a simple majority... I threw that out," said the Israeli PM.

Aveek Banerjee Edited By: Aveek Banerjee Jerusalem Published on: June 30, 2023 10:15 IST
Israel PM Benjamin Netanyahu dropped one of the key parts
Image Source : AP Israel PM Benjamin Netanyahu dropped one of the key parts of his judicial overhaul plans.

In a surprising turn of events, Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has announced that he has dropped one of the most key parts of his controversial planned judicial overhaul amid protests that have been going on for months against his contentious plans.

According to a report by BBC, Netanyahu told in an interview that now he will not grant parliament an authority to overule the rulings by the country's apex court.

"The idea of an override clause, where the parliament, the Knesset, can override the decisions of the Supreme Court with a simple majority... I threw that out," said the Israeli PM.

Protesters unsatisfied after Netanyahu's latest action

However, this decision has apparently unable to satisfy protest leaders, who said that these changes have not gone far enough and their demonstrations will continue to be organised against the legal overhaul.

One of the protesters told BBC that Netanyahu's latest action is a tactic to "throw sand in the eyes of the audience" as he was shunned by Western countries over the controversial plans. "We are fighting for the soul of our country and one interview with one person doesn't make everything else go away," she further said.

Meanwhile, Itamar Ben-Gvir, a far-right ultranationalist minister, criticised Netanyahu's decision as "a victory for violence and a loss for Israel" and accusing the PM of surrendering to civil unrest.

About Netanyahu's contentious judicial overhaul plan

Netanyahu and his religious and ultranationalist allies announced the judicial overhaul in January just days after forming their government, the most right-wing in Israel’s history.

The proposal has plunged Israel into its worst domestic crisis in decades. Business leaders, top economists and former security chiefs have all come out against the plan, saying it is pushing the country toward dictatorship.

The plan would give Netanyahu, who is on trial on corruption charges, and his allies the final say in appointing the nation’s judges. The government had initially sought to pass laws that would grant the Knesset, as Israel’s parliament is called, the authority to overturn Supreme Court decisions and limit judicial review of laws.

Netanyahu and his allies say the plan will restore a balance between the judicial and executive branches and rein in what they see as an interventionist court with liberal sympathies.

But critics say the laws will remove Israel’s system of checks and balances and concentrate power in the hands of the governing coalition. They also say that Netanyahu has a conflict of interest because of his corruption trial.

ALSO READ | United Nations urges Israel and Palestinians to halt West Bank violence; US, Russia back peace plan

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