The right’s plan to get rid of Israel’s High Court

The far right wants to defang Israel’s highest court to fulfill its annexationist dreams. Netanyahu wants to overpower it to ensure he remains on the throne. For Palestinians, annexation has long been a fact on the ground. 

Supreme Court President Esther Hayut (C) and Judges of the Supreme Court arrive for a court hearing at the Supreme Court in Jerusalem asking to disqualify the Otzma Yehudit party member Michael Ben Ari from running in the upcoming elections

Meron Rapoport writes in +972

The attacks on Israel’s High Court by the right would not have gained traction without Prime Minister Netanyahu’s personal support. These include an attempt to pass a bill that would not only allow the Knesset to re-legislate laws struck down by the judiciary, but also prevent the High Court from intervening in administrative decisions by the government, the ministers, and the Knesset. Netanyahu is hoping to prevent judicial review over any number of laws that would seek to shield him from prosecution over the various corruption scandals in which he is embroiled.

The right speaks openly about the need to broadly “govern,” as well as the need to dismantle the “dictatorship of the High Court” in order to “give power back to the people.” But nowhere is this so-called “governance” more relevant than the area over which Israel has been trying to hide its rule for 52 years: the occupied territories.

The great paradox

Two of the laws Netanyahu singled out as reasons for passing a “court override bill” are directly related to the occupied territories: a bill calling for the death penalty for convicted Palestinian killers of Israeli civilians and soldiers, and another bill that would allow Israel to deport the families of those Palestinians. It is clear why Bezalel Smotrich of the United Right party made the override bill a central condition of the current coalition negotiations with the prime minister. The Regularization Law, which retroactively legalizes West Bank outposts deemed illegal by Israeli law and will likely be struck down by the High Court, is a prime example of the kind of laws Smotrich wants to enshrine without the threat of judicial oversight.

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