At the heart of Israel’s planned judicial reform is giving the country’s parliament, the Knesset, and the ruling party more judicial control.
From how judges are selected, to which laws the court can rule on, and even giving parliament the power to overturn court decisions, the changes would be the most significant shakeup of Israel’s judiciary since the founding of the state in 1948.
What this means for Palestinians: Weakening the judiciary could limit Israelis and Palestinians’ ability to seek courts to uphold their rights if Israelis and Palestinians feel they are being compromised by their government.
Palestinians in the occupied West Bank may be affected and, of course, Palestinian citizens or holders of residence permits in Israel are also directly affected. Israel’s Supreme Court has no influence over what happens in Gaza, which is ruled by the Palestinian militant group Hamas.
Critics of the changes worry that the rights of minorities in Israel, especially Palestinians living in Israel, will be affected if politicians take more control.
Last year, for example, a court halted evictions of Palestinian families in East Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jala hotspot neighborhood, where Jewish groups claimed title to the land the families had depended on for decades.
Meanwhile, Palestinian activists argue that the high court has furthered Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, never considering the legality of Israeli settlements there, even though they are considered illegal by most of the international community.
The High Court has also been the subject of complaints from Israel’s far right and settlers, who say it is Biased against settlers; they condemn the court’s involvement in authorizing the 2005 expulsion of settlers from Gaza and the northern West Bank.