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What Israel’s Judicial Reform Plans Can Mean for Palestinians

In essence, Israel’s planned judicial reform would give the country’s parliament, the Knesset, and therefore the ruling parties, more control over the judiciary.

How judges are selected, what laws the Supreme Court can rule on, even giving parliament the power to overrule Supreme Court decisions: the changes would be the most significant changes to Israel’s judiciary since its founding in 1948.

What does this mean for Palestinians?

The weakening of the judiciary could limit both Israelis and Palestinians from seeking to defend their rights in court if they believe they are compromised by the government.

Palestinians in the occupied West Bank could be affected, and of course Palestinian citizens of Israel or those who hold residency cards would be directly affected..

Israel’s Supreme Court has no influence over what happens in Gaza, which is ruled by the Palestinian militant group Hamas.

Critics of the changes fear that if politicians were given more control, the rights of minorities in Israel, especially Palestinians living in Israel, would be affected.

Last year, for example, the court suspended the evictions of Palestinian families in the critical neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah in East Jerusalem, where Jewish groups have claimed ownership of land families have lived on for decades.

At the same time, Palestinian activists argued that the high court further entrenched the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, never having considered the legality of Israeli settlements there, even though they are considered illegal by most of the international community.

The high court has also been the subject of complaints from Israel’s far right and settlers, who say it is biased against settlers; they condemned the court’s involvement in approving the eviction of settlers from Gaza and the northern West Bank in 2005.

Source: CNN Brasil

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