5:54 am ET, March 27, 2023
What Israel’s Judicial Reform Plans Mean for Palestinians
From CNN’s Hadas Gold in Jerusalem
(Mostafa Alkharouf/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
At its core, Israel’s planned judicial overhaul will give the country’s parliament, the Knesset, and the parties in power more control over the judiciary.
From how judges are elected, to what laws the Supreme Court can rule, to giving parliament the power to overturn Supreme Court rulings, the changes will be the most significant shake-up of Israel’s judiciary, which was founded in 1948.
What this means for Palestinians: Weakening the judiciary could limit Israelis and Palestinians from resorting to the courts if they believe they are being compromised by the government.
Palestinians in the occupied West Bank would be affected, and of course, Palestinian citizens of Israel or holders of residency cards would be directly affected. Israel’s Supreme Court has no say in what happens in Gaza, which is ruled by the Palestinian militant group Hamas.
Critics of the changes worry that the rights of minorities in Israel, particularly Palestinians living in Israel, will be affected if they remain in the hands of politicians.
Last year, for example, the court halted the eviction of Palestinian families from the Flash Point neighborhood of Sheikh Zarra in East Jerusalem, where Jewish groups have claimed ownership of land where families have lived for decades.
At the same time, Palestinian activists have argued that the high court has further strengthened Israel’s occupation of the West Bank by never considering the legality of Israeli settlements there, even though they are considered illegal by the international community.
The high court has been the subject of complaints from Israel’s far right and immigrants a bias against immigrants; They have condemned the court’s intervention in 2005 to evict migrants from Gaza and the northern West Bank.