The Israeli ruling and opposition parties begin this Tuesday a “dialogue” on justice reform that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu put on “pause” before the wave of protests that have shaken the country since January.
The President of Israel, isaac herzogindicated in a statement that he will receive “the work teams (…) at the first dialogue meeting at his residence this afternoon at 7:30 p.m. local time (4:30 p.m. GMT).
Netanyahu announced on Monday, given the breadth of the movement that paralyzed hospitals, flights and other services, that his reform was going on “pause.”
“When there is a possibility of preventing a civil war through dialogueas prime minister I pause for dialogue,” he declared in a televised address.
The announcement marked a reversal in the position of the head of government, who on Sunday had dismissed his defense minister, Yoav Gallantfor advocating that very decision.
The two main leaders of the opposition, the centrists Yair Lapid and Benny Gantz, said they were willing to enter into discussions under the aegis of Herzog, who for weeks has proposed mediating in the crisis, but warned against any maneuver by Netanhyahu.
Lapid said he wants to make sure the “pause” is not “a ruse or a hoax.”
The parties of both leaders also warned in a joint statement that they would “immediately” abandon the negotiation if the government sent Parliament one of the most controversial measures of the reform, on the composition of the commission that appoints judges.
Some Analysts saw in the initiative above all a master move by Netanyahu to get out of trouble.
The prime minister “knew how to transform, with nice words, a crushing defeat into a draw,” wrote Nahum Barnea, an editorial writer for the newspaper. Yediot Aharonot.
“It doesn’t matter what you say or do, it seems to me that you don’t enjoy much trust, even among the thousands of right-wing protesters yesterday,” he added, referring to the first counter-demonstration called Monday in Jerusalem by reform supporters. .
The government affirms that the reform intends to rebalance powers, giving greater powers to Parliament to the detriment of the Supreme Court, which it considers politicized.
His opponents maintain instead that this reform compromises the independence of justice.
The crisis revealed deep divisions in Netanyahu’s shaky coalition, which includes far-right and ultra-Orthodox parties.
The Finance Minister, Bezalel Smotrichaffirmed Monday on Twitter that “there will be no going back” with the judicial reform.
His cabinet colleague, also from the extreme right, the Minister of National Security Itamar Ben Gvirpressured his followers to demonstrate in favor of the reforms.
Ben-Gvir’s Jewish Power party revealed on Monday that the decision to postpone the legislation includes an agreement to expand his portfolio, after he threatened to resign if the project was halted.
The political journalist Yossi Verter published in the daily Haaretz that the pause was “a victory for the protesters, but the one who really bent and trampled him (the prime minister) is Itamar Ben-Gvir.”
“Netanyahu came out of this story like a squeezed orange,” according to Verter.
The crisis hit the coalition’s image among the Israeli public three months after it came to power.
Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud party fell seven points in a Channel 12 poll, which predicted the government would lose its majority in the 120-seat parliament if elections were held.
On the other hand, rumors circulated on Tuesday about a possible reinstatement of the dismissed defense minister, who on Monday welcomed “the decision to stop the legislative process to conduct a dialogue.”
(With information from AFP)
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