Netanyahu to WSJ: ‘I’ve Thrown Out’ Key Override Clause, but Will Advance Judicial Overhaul Bills

T. Belman. Is discretion the better part of valor in this case.  Bibi didn’t want radical reform anyway.

What, pray tell, is “nationalistic terror”?

Surrender’: Coalition MKs up in arms after PM says he’s dropped ‘override’ clause

Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu vows to advance revised judicial overhaul legislation, agrees settler violence can be termed ‘nationalistic terror,’ denies he wants to dissolve the PA, and says he still expects an invite to the White House

Haaretz< 29.6.23

Anti-judicial overhaul protest in Tel Aviv, earlier this year.Credit: Tomer Appelbaum

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal on Thursday that he would push forward with his planned judicial reform without its most controversial aspect, a provision that would allow the national legislature to overturn Supreme Court rulings.

“I threw that out,” Netanyahu said of the override clause. When asked if he would promote a revised version of the clause requiring a super majority, the prime minister said no – “it’s out.”

“I’m attentive to the public pulse, and to what I think will pass muster,” Netanyahu said.

After freezing the overhaul in March, Netanyahu’s government has been in talks with the opposition in an effort to reach a compromise, which the prime minister says has been unsuccessful. “I definitely sought a broad consensus, possibly with a formal agreement with the opposition, but what we discovered after we pushed the pause button… After one, two and three months, [was] that the opposition was under such political pressures that they couldn’t agree to the most minimal understanding,” Netanyahu said.

In addition to the override clause, the prime minister told The Wall Street Journal that he’d revise his planned changes to the Judicial Appointments Committee – another controversial part of his planned reform. He did not specify what the revisions would be.

“It’s not going to be the current structure, but it’s not going to be the original structure [proposed in the reform],” he said.

When asked about the Russian invasion of Ukraine and Russia’s relationship with Iran, Netanyahu described the latter as “very disturbing,” adding that it provides Iran “the weapons or the means to advance its goals against Israel and others … Against the Arab states, and against many others.”

Regarding Western calls for Israel to help arm Ukraine, Netanyahu expressed concern that Israeli weaponry or defense systems could be captured and turned over to Iran, more specifically, the Iron Dome missile defense system.

Israel has thus far rejected requests from the Biden administration to provide Ukraine with U.S.-held batteries for the system.

“If that system were to fall into the hands of Iran, then millions of Israelis would be left defenseless and imperiled,” Netanyahu said, adding that Israel had already provided Ukraine with an early-warning missile defense system.

Netanyahu said of the U.S. reengaging with Iran in an effort to reach a nuclear agreement that “any deal with Iran that doesn’t set back their nuclear infrastructure, that doesn’t basically take it apart, is not very useful.”

“Obviously a deal which would give them hundreds of billions of dollars and would enable them within two years, three years – in what is called the sunset clause – to remove all limitations on nuclear enrichment is a far worse deal,” he said, referring to supposed recent concessions made toward Tehran.

“Maximum deal or mini-deal, nothing is going to stop us from doing what we need to do to defend Israel against a regime that openly says it’s out to destroy us and is seeking to achieve the means to do so,” Netanyahu added.

Netanyahu described the recent wave of Israeli settler riots and attacks on Palestinian villages in the West Bank as “misguided, unacceptable and criminal,” agreeing that such actions can be called “nationalistic terrorism,” but that giving it such a name “does not solve the problem.”

He denounced claims that he intends to dissolve the Palestinian Authority as “simply ridiculous.”


Aftermath of the settlers’ rampage in Hawara in March.Credit: Moti Milrod<

Netanyahu added that he plans to continue seeking peace agreements like the Abraham Accords with Arab and Muslim countries, which he said could end the Arab-Israeli conflict and “lead to peace with the Palestinians too.”

He rejected the idea that his coalition partners and their international reputation as extremists could stand in the way of advancing such peace agreements, as “ultimately, policy is determined by me and my colleagues in the Likud.”

Netanyahu said of Israel’s relations with the U.S. and the fact that he has yet to receive an invitation to Washington since returning to office that “it may take some time,” but that “of course, I should expect to meet President Biden.”

The prime minister clarified that regardless, Israel’s relationship with the U.S. remains strong, and that “the issue of the invitation clouds people’s views,” when in reality “the security cooperation, the military cooperation and the intel cooperation, including cyber, is stronger than it’s ever been under two governments.”

June 29, 2023 | Comments »

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