The Justice Dam against Netanyahu

Parisa Pasandepour
9 Min Read
The Justice Dam against Netanyahu

Supreme Court rejects Netanyahu’s reforms

Israel’s reforms have been rejected

The Supreme Court of Israel has rejected the controversial judicial reforms proposed by Prime Minister Netanyahu, a decision that could reignite an institutional crisis and weaken the executive branch, which is currently facing serious issues.

With a majority of at least 8 out of 15 judges in the main section, the Supreme Court rejected the contentious justice reforms that were approved by the right-wing extremist government led by Benjamin Netanyahu in July. This rejection pertains to the amendment that limits the power of the Supreme Court to overturn government decisions if they are deemed irrational.

Netanyahu’s Likud Party stated that this decision goes against the will of the nation for unity, especially during a very difficult and unprecedented war. In the past months, the reform project has sparked large-scale protests and street mobilizations as it was seen as a threat to Israeli democracy by a significant portion of the public. Activists and experts argued that, in the absence of a strong constitutional law, granting the Supreme Court the power to reject laws passed by the parliament is necessary to safeguard democratic governance and human rights.

However, this decision is likely to pose a risk of creating a constitutional and political crisis, as the country is facing the specter of escalating regional conflicts that have been ongoing for the past three months. The judges’ decision actually carries the risk of further intensifying tensions and may undermine the unity government formed after the October 7 Hamas attacks.

The connection between the two crises

The refusal to implement justice reforms in the domestic security front will also have direct consequences. Since its announcement in early January 2023, this government project has become one of the largest protest movements that Israel has seen since its establishment in 1948.

Thousands of military and security personnel, including Air Force pilots and members of the IDF’s cyber security and special operations units, were suspended from service as a result of a real sanction against the Israeli executive power, according to reports.

In the weeks leading up to the passage of this law, intelligence services repeatedly warned Netanyahu that the domestic crisis related to judicial review posed a risk of weakening Israel’s deterrent power and encouraging its enemies to attack the country.

After Hamas attacks, known as Operation Al-Aqsa Storm, many argued that judicial reforms have caused such negligence and disruption in the security apparatus, which played a determining role in the significant failure of the intelligence and defense agencies.

The conflict has prolonged.

Meanwhile, Israel has announced that it will withdraw several thousand soldiers from the Gaza Strip to continue more targeted operations against Hamas. It also intends to reduce the number of reserve forces in order to support the country’s economy. According to Israeli military radio, five brigades will be withdrawn from the besieged area. However, Prime Minister Netanyahu has warned that the war will continue for several months.

The redeployment of military forces is the first instance since the beginning of the conflict that is related to the northern part of the Gaza Strip, where it seems that the area is fully under the control of the Israeli army due to the decrease in the number of missile launches. In the central and southern areas around Khan Yunis, where the war and clashes with Hamas militants continue, the Israeli army intends to continue fighting with full force.

According to international media reports, Israel’s decision to withdraw a small portion of its forces is a response to pressure from its ally, the United States. This move marks the beginning of a new phase in the ongoing conflict, which, according to military sources, could last at least another six months.

The Israeli military’s withdrawal came after an attack by Hamas in October, during which, according to Israeli officials, approximately 1,200 people were killed and over 240 were taken hostage.

Increase in Hamas supporters

Since the Hamas attack on Israel, there has been an unprecedented humanitarian crisis and destruction resulting from the war in the Gaza Strip. According to health authorities, about 70% of the nearly 22,000 recorded deaths in Palestine have been women and children. This massacre has angered a significant part of the international community, leading the South African government to file a complaint against Israel for genocide at the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

However, currently, any hope for a new ceasefire agreement to bring humanitarian aid to the besieged Gaza Strip and the release of the 129 hostages who are still in detention has been dashed due to Hamas’ request for a complete Israeli withdrawal from Gaza.

Simultaneously, while the civilian population is suffering from conflict and hunger, public anger and doubt about the possibility of eradicating armed extremism from this region through bombardment is increasing.

Although Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian Prime Minister, claims that the Palestinian self-governing institutions remain the sole pillar and point of reference for finding a political solution to the existing dispute, polls indicate otherwise. It seems that Palestinian support for Hamas has increased since the recent Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip. Hamas militants have gained more supporters in areas that were previously under the leadership of the self-governing institutions.

Based on this, when Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli Prime Minister, promised earlier this week to prevent Abbas from regaining control of Gaza after the war, he essentially echoed what the Palestinian public believes. The current leader of Fatah is no longer seen as the representative of the Palestinians’ future.

It seems that a complete geological period has passed since the presentation of controversial reforms in the Israeli judicial system by Yariv Levin, the Minister of Justice. These reforms have largely caused division and discord in Israeli society. However, it has only been one year since then, and it only took eight votes to reject one of the fundamental components of the judicial system reforms, a law that abolished the criterion of reasonableness.

One year after the presentation of these reforms, it appears that the court has been strengthened due to the Netanyahu government’s crusade, but most likely, due to the current special and critical circumstances, this news will not receive much attention. In fact, concerns have been redirected elsewhere, and the focus is on the ongoing war and the devastation that Gaza and its population have experienced in the past three months.


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Master's Degree in International Relations from the Faculty of Diplomatic Sciences and International Relations, Genoa, Italy.