At its core, Israel’s planned judicial overhaul would give the country’s parliament, the Knesset, and therefore the ruling parties, more control over the judiciary.
From how judges are selected, to laws the Supreme Court can rule on, to giving Parliament the power to overturn Supreme Court rulings, the changes would be the most significant overhauls to the justice system. Israeli since its founding in 1948.
What this means for Palestinians: The weakening of the judiciary could limit both Israelis and Palestinians from seeking defense of their rights in court if they believe they are being compromised by the government.
Palestinians in the occupied West Bank could be affected, and of course Palestinian citizens of Israel or those holding residency cards would be directly affected. Israel’s Supreme Court has no influence on what happens in Gaza, which is ruled by the Palestinian militant group Hamas.
Critics of the changes fear that if politicians have more control, the rights of minorities in Israel, especially Palestinians living in Israel, would be affected.
Last year, for example, the court halted evictions of Palestinian families in the burning neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah in East Jerusalem, where Jewish groups claimed ownership of land the families had lived on for decades.
Meanwhile, Palestinian activists have argued that the High Court has further entrenched Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, having never 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 the far right and Israeli settlers, who say it is bias against settlers; they condemned the court’s involvement in approving the expulsion of settlers from Gaza and the northern West Bank in 2005.