Israelis Protest Judicial Overhaul For Ninth Consecutive Week

Protests broke out in occupied Palestine against the far-right Israeli government's bid to overhaul the constitution as PM Benjamin Netanyahu's popularity deteriorates by the day.

Thousands of illegal Israeli settlers took to the streets of “Tel Aviv” again on Saturday, marking the ninth consecutive week of protesting the government’s judicial overhaul bid.

The latest rally in “Tel Aviv” comes after a similar demonstration took place on Wednesday when Israeli settlers were confronted by the police using stun grenades and water cannons, leading to about 39 getting arrested and 11 others getting injured.

Israeli media reported that demonstrators were injured from sound grenades thrown at them by the police at the Hashalom junction in “Tel Aviv”. For its part, Israeli media reported that Israeli police are no longer able to contain the protesters.

Israeli settlers closed roads and train stations in protest against a draft judicial amendments bill that Benjamin Netanyahu’s government is seeking to pass, while Israeli Police Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir threatened protesters and ordered police to force roads open.

Israeli media cited protest organizers saying that the occupation police chief must dismiss those responsible for throwing sound grenades and trampling demonstrators with horses, adding that the Israeli police is bankrupt and has today turned into a “political police force.”

Moreover, that same day saw Sarah Netanyahu, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s wife, getting stuck in a hair salon in northern “Tel Aviv” after hundreds of demonstrators surrounded it. She was then escorted by IOF and taken away from the angry crowd.  

“The anarchy activists led by (opposition leader Yair) Lapid continue to cross red lines. They are currently harassing and threatening my wife in Tel Aviv. I call on Lapid and the opposition to stop this immediately and condemn this disgraceful act that was unprecedented,” the PM said in response to the incident.

The opposition believes that the main goal of the amendments proposed by the ruling coalition is to “clear Netanyahu of corruption charges in the three files he is being tried,” in addition to opening the door for his ally Aryeh Deri to assume a ministerial portfolio, despite his conviction on charges of tax fraud and theft for the second time.

Israeli Channel 13 said that the demonstrators are refusing to leave the streets and insist on prolonging the protests. In the same context, violent confrontations broke out between demonstrators and the police in Ayalon in “Tel Aviv”.

In response, Israeli Police Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir threatened that the IOF must not tolerate demonstrators attacking police, calling on them to “confront the anarchists.”

Over the past month, divisions within the occupation entity have emerged. The former prime minister of the occupation government, Naftali Bennett, warned of an internal war in “Israel,” calling for negotiations on the judicial amendments law.

“Crime Minister,” said a large banner among the Israeli protesters. “Democracy! Democracy!” and “Shame!” they shouted, failing to acknowledge that there is no such thing as a democracy under occupation.

The proposed legislation would prevent courts from overturning any amendments made by the government to the occupation’s quasi-constitutional “Basic Laws”, in addition to giving more weight to the government in the judge selection committee.  

The legislation undermining the judiciary’s independence is fundamental to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s administration, which is constituted by a coalition of extremist Zionist parties. 

Occupation President Isaac Herzog, who had been aiming to mediate the crisis between the ruling Israeli parties and the opposition, voiced concern over the divisiveness of the legislation, whereby it threatens the unity of the settler population. 

Furthermore, the bid to overhaul the judiciary has drawn the ire of troops in the Israeli occupation forces. As of this moment, thousands within the Israeli reserves brigades have signed petitions warning that they would not join the reserves if the reforms that Netanyahu wants.

Some 2,000 Israeli reservists protested in February against the judicial reform bids, with hundreds of others in the Israeli in Unit 8200 saying they would not volunteer if the legislation passes.

More than 100 officers and servicemen in the Military Intelligence, including officers with the rank of major general signed a petition in which they warned that they would also not continue to serve if the legislation passes, noting that they would not serve in the reserves after that.

Moreover, about 200 of “Israel’s” most elite reservists threatened in a written letter that they would stop exercising their duties if the judiciary reforms come to pass. 

An additional 500 former Shin Bet agents petitioned against the Prime Minister’s judicial overhaul, outraged by their former leader’s sudden change of political views towards the far-right. 

Retired Mossad employees are also reportedly launching a similar petition, whilst Mossad Director David Barnea gave permission for employees who rank below the level of the department head to take part in anti-government protests.

There are stark concerns about a crisis breaking out in the reserves brigades, prompting Gallant to say that any call for the refusal to serve in the army was an attack on the Israeli occupation’s security.




Arab Observer

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