Jerusalem, Mar 28 (EFE).- While Israel’s massive anti-government protests scored a victory when prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu confirmed plans to reform the justice system were being delayed, demonstrators are determined to remain on the streets to end what they call a “judicial coup” once and for all.
“The protests will continue until the government stops the judicial coup completely,” the Umbrella Movement against Dictatorship said Tuesday.
“The announcement made by Netanyahu and his ultra-religious coalition partners shows that they are planning to go forward with the plan that will harm the Israeli economy and security,” the group organizing the protests added.
Netanyahu on Monday night announced he was delaying the parliamentary readings on the judicial reforms, in particular the one on the selection of judges, which, if passed, would give the government control over the committee responsible for appointing judges.
The proposed overhaul of the judiciary includes other contentious aspects, such as allowing a simple parliamentary majority to overturn Supreme Court decisions on legislation and laws shielding politicians from judicial oversight.
Netanyahu gave in after a record 650,000 people came out to protest across the country Sunday evening, with military reservists and elite fighter pilots refusing to attend maneuvers and unions calling a general strike that paralyzed Israel’s airports for several hours on Monday.
OPPORTUNITY FOR DIALOGUE
Israel’s president Isaac Herzog, who has been trying to mediate for weeks, has invited Netanyahu and opposition leaders to talks in a bid to seize on the tense calm that has followed Monday night’s decision to pause the reforms.
“If the legislation is really and completely stopped, we are ready to start a real dialogue at the president’s residence,” opposition leader Yair Lapid said, adding they will first make sure there was no “bluffing.”
Many protesters believe that Netanyahu is only buying time because after announcing the postponement, he reiterated that he was hoping to have judicial changes approved in the next parliamentary session, set to begin in May after the Passover recess.
“When it is possible to prevent a fratricidal war with negotiations, I, as prime minister, take time to negotiate. I give an opportunity for real discussion,” Netanyahu said Monday night.
Yohanan Plesner, chairman of the Israel Democracy Institute (IDI), explained Tuesday that the Israeli protest movement is not “a simple political event,” but rather a “turning point.”
Plesner commended the protests, calling the level of commitment they showed “absolutely extraordinary.”EFE