Caution in crisis-hit Israel after PM pauses reform

1 year ago 57

Caution prevailed in Israel Tuesday after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to pause controversial judicial reforms which sparked a general strike and mass protests, with the crisis far from over.

Netanyahu bowed to pressure in the face of a nationwide walkout Monday which hit hospitals, flights and more, while tens of thousands of reform opponents rallied outside parliament in Jerusalem.

“Out of a will to prevent a rupture among our people, I have decided to pause the second and third readings of the bill” to allow time for dialogue, the Prime Minister said in a broadcast.

The decision to halt the legislative process marked a dramatic U-turn for the premier, who just a day earlier announced he was sacking his defence minister who had called for the very same step.

The move was greeted with scepticism in Israel, with the president of the Israel Democracy Institute think-tank remarking it does not amount to a peace deal.

“Rather, it’s a ceasefire perhaps for regrouping, reorganising, reorienting and then charging – potentially – charging ahead,” Yohanan Plesner told journalists.

Ruse or bluff

Opposition leader Yair Lapid reacted warily, saying Monday he wanted to be sure “that there is no ruse or bluff”.

President Isaac Herzog said he would host talks on the reforms, but when contacted by AFP a spokesman was unable to provide a schedule for such negotiations.

A joint statement Tuesday from Lapid’s party and that of Benny Gantz, the former defence minister, said such talks will stop immediately “if the law is put on the Knesset’s (parliament’s) agenda”.

The opposition had previously refused to negotiate over the reforms – which would hand politicians more power over the judiciary ...

Read Entire Article