The Left expresses its solidarity with the protests against the reform of the judicial system in Israel and asks for solutions towards peaceful coexistence in the Middle East

On Saturday, 11 March, an estimated half a million people protested against the far-right Israeli government’s assault on the judicial system, in what are believed to be the biggest street protests in Israel’s history. 

Despite weeks of major protests, lawmakers in the Knesset gave preliminary approval to a series of bills that would overhaul the country’s judicial  system. These  would make it harder to declare a prime minister unfit to rule, give the government the power to nominate judges and include an override clause which would allow the Knesset to pass laws that contradict the country’s 12 Basic Laws and eliminate the Supreme Court’s ability to nullify them. Another proposed law seeks to introduce the death penalty.  By coalition agreement far-right Religious Zionism party leader, Bezalel Smotrich, was given responsibility for Israel’s West Bank settlements. This includes full authority over the areas of operation of the Civil Administration, and the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, which until now were under the Minister of Defense.

On 14 March, Left MEPs spoke out against the deterioration of the situation in Israel and the consequences for Palestinians.

Left MEP Martina Michels (Die Linke, Germany) said: “Israel’s governing coalition which includes extreme right-wing parties is in the process of tearing down the state’s democratic constitution. It’s not just about the judicial reform package. It is also about the introduction of the death penalty, about the transfer of responsibility for the occupied territories from the military authorities to the new Office for Settlement Activities in the Occupied West Bank. It is about an unbridled settlement policy and the acceleration of annexation tendencies. These are not at all mere internal matters. Nor is this policy an excuse for terrorist attacks. But it will not help break the spiral of hatred and violence.

According to the UN, 2022 saw the highest number of Palestinians killed by Israeli Security Forces in the past 17 years. So far in 2023, 80 Palestinians were killed in the West Bank, 144 homes destroyed and 9 illegal settlements and 10,000 houses authorised for construction. 

Left MEP Manu Pineda (Izquierda Unida, Spain) said: “The Israeli regime has intensified its spiral of violence against the Palestinian people. The association agreement with Israel must end now. This criminal regime must be excluded from all EU-funded programmes.”

Recently returned from Palestine, Left MEP Marc Botenga (PTB, Belgium) met bereaved families and saw firsthand the homes destroyed by the occupying forces and called for the EU to use its influence to end Israel’s violations of international law. 

“Israeli colonisation does not stop, it intensifies. Israel now wants annexation. This is another shameless violation of international law, and yet the EU still has an association agreement with Israel, we continue to import products even from the illegal colonies, we do not sanction Israel. The Palestinian people and the people of the world see the hypocrisy.”

Related Meps

Manu Pineda

Izquierda Unida

Marc Botenga

Parti du Travail de Belgique / Partij van de Arbeid van België