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What Israel's Judicial Overhaul Means for Palestinians

Some have decried the law’s passage as a death knell for Israeli democracy

Recently, the Israeli government achieved its first victory in a months-long bid to overhaul the country’s judicial system. On Monday, Israeli lawmakers approved a law that strips the country’s Supreme Court of its power to overrule government decisions that it deems to be “unreasonable,” or not in keeping with the public interest. Opponents of the legislation, thousands of whom took to the streets across the country for their 29th consecutive week of protest, decried the law’s passage as a death knell for Israeli democracy, given that it subverts one of the sole checks on the government’s authority (Israel, unlike most other democracies, does not have a written constitution). Opposition lawmakers are expected to appeal to the Supreme Court, though it is not clear whether the court will take up the case.

While much of the uproar over the judicial overhaul has focused on the impact it stands to have on Israel’s democratic norms and its wider international standing, relatively less attention has been paid to what Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his far-right coalition partners ultimately intend to do with their consolidated power. Some commentators have suggested that circumventing corruption charges could be at least one motive for the Prime Minister. (Netanyahu is on trial for fraud, breach of trust, and accepting bribes; he denies any wrongdoing.) But experts tell TIME that furthering the ultranationalist right’s ambitions of unfettered settlement expansion—and, potentially, unilateral annexation of the West Bank—could be another.

“The whole notion of weakening the Supreme Court has a huge element of moving forward with Israeli annexation and with providing impunity to soldiers and settlers,” said Mairav Zonszein, an Israel-based senior analyst at the International Crisis Group.

Please select this link to read the complete article from TIME.

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