Tens of thousands of Israelis continue anti-gov’t protests | Israel-Palestine conflict News

Tens of thousands of Israelis continue anti-gov’t protests | Israel-Palestine conflict News

Protesters rally against the right-wing Israeli government’s planned changes that will weaken the judiciary system.

Tens of thousands of Israelis have protested against the right-wing government across the country for the fourth straight week.

The latest rally took place on Saturday, with protesters holding Israeli flags chanting “no to dictatorship” and “democracy” on Kaplan Street in Tel Aviv.

As in previous weeks, the protest was mainly directed against changes proposed by the government that will weaken the judicial system.

According to Justice Minister Yariv Levin’s plans, a majority in parliament should be able to pass a law even if the Supreme Court finds it violates the Basic Law.

Levin also wants to change the composition of the panel that appoints judges. The far-reaching changes could also play into the prime minister
Benjamin Netanyahu’s hands in his current corruption trial where he faces charges of fraud, breach of trust and corruption.

Netanyahu accuses the Supreme Court of excessive interference in political decisions. Some experts have already warned of the end of democracy in the country if the plans are implemented.

An aerial view shows Israelis taking part in a demonstration against proposed changes to the judicial system by Israel’s new right-wing government in Tel Aviv [File: Oren Alon/Reuters]

The reform, if implemented, would represent the most radical change in Israel’s system of government. But Netanyahu claims he was mandated by millions of voters to implement judicial reforms.

Some protesters also criticized the country’s treatment of Palestinians.

“There is no democracy with occupation,” read one sign.

There have been regular anti-government protests for several weeks. On January 21, more than 100,000 people gathered in Tel Aviv.

This week’s protests come after seven people were killed in an attack on a synagogue in occupied east Jerusalem on Friday. On Saturday, a 13-year-old shot and seriously injured two Israelis near the Old City of Jerusalem.

That was after nine Palestinians were killed and dozens injured in an Israeli military operation in the occupied West Bank city of Jenin on Thursday. In all, Israeli forces have killed 32 Palestinians this month.

The deadly Israeli raid sparked grief and anger in the besieged Gaza Strip. Rockets were fired at Israel in an attack claimed by Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

They were shot down by Israel’s Iron Dome air defense system early Friday, and Israel conducted airstrikes on locations in Gaza it said are used by armed groups including Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

Netanyahu’s security cabinet, staffed by hardliners allied with the illegal settlement movement in the occupied West Bank, on Saturday approved punitive measures against Palestinians in response to the two shootings.

Netanyahu’s office said the security cabinet agreed to seal off the attacker’s home immediately before its destruction. It also plans to cut social security benefits for attackers’ families, make it easier for Israelis to obtain gun licenses, and step up efforts to collect what it considers “illegal” guns.

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