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S&Ds: Prime Minister Netanyahu's judicial reforms put democracy and rule of law in Israel in danger


15 Mar 2023


Global Europe

Following S&D´s request, we welcome that the European Parliament has held a debate with EU High Representative Josep Borrell on the deterioration of democracy in Israel and the consequences on the occupied territories. Democracy and rule of law in Israel are at risk. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and his far-right government are pushing for a heavily controversial judicial reform that would weaken judiciary power, undermine the rule of law, and deteriorate democracy in Israel.

S&D vice president of foreign affairs, Pedro Marques, said:

“Hundreds of thousands of people are protesting within and outside Israel against Netanyahu´s judicial reform. Their protest is our protest.

“This reform would erode the independence of the Supreme Court of Israel by giving the governing coalition control over the appointment of judges, the power to overrule Supreme Court decisions with a simple majority of 61 votes out of 120 in the Knesset. A weakened Supreme Court could be also used to establish more settlements. We strongly oppose this scenario and we welcome that the European Parliament, upon our request, has officially expressed all its concerns and disagreements.

“To make things worse, since the Netanyahu’s far-right government came into power, we observed a dangerous escalation of violence between Palestinians and Israeli settlers in the occupied West Bank.

“We are witnessing an occupation that is dramatically turning into an annexation of the settlement territories. We strongly oppose the escalating violence and judicial reform, and will raise our voice against it.”

The European Parliament’s standing rapporteur for Palestine, S&D MEP, Evin Incir commented:

“In the largest demonstrations in Israeli history, over half a million citizens are taking to the streets to protest against the extreme right-wing government. Israeli democracy is at stake and the international community has an obligation to act in defence of the people.

“The judicial reform and the government’s illiberal policies are enforced on Israeli as well as Palestinian people. It is used as a tool to expand settlements and annex the West Bank. For years, the EU has been calling for an end to the demolition of EU-funded structures and projects in Israel, as well as for compensation for damages. For decades, the EU has demanded an end to the expansion of illegal settlements in Palestine.

“The EU must now listen to the hundreds of thousands protesting on the streets of Israel. We can no longer allow business as usual.”