At its core, Israel’s planned judicial overhaul would give the country’s parliament, the Knesset, and therefore the parties in power, more control over the judiciary.
From how judges are selected, to what laws the Supreme Court can rule on, to even giving parliament power to overturn Supreme Court decisions, the changes would be the most significant shakeups to Israel’s judiciary since its founding in 1948.
What it means for Palestinians: Weakening the judicial branch could limit both Israelis and Palestinians in seeking the court’s defense of their rights if they believe they are compromised by the government.
Palestinians in the occupied West Bank could be affected, and of course Palestinian citizens of Israel or those who hold residency cards would be directly affected. Israel’s Supreme Court has no influence on what happens in Gaza, which is ruled by the Palestinian militant group Hamas.
Critics of the changes worry that if the politicians have more control, the rights of minorities in Israel, especially Palestinians living in Israel, would be impacted.
Last year, for example, the court halted the evictions of Palestinian families in the flashpoint neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah in East Jerusalem, where Jewish groups have claimed ownership of land the families have lived on for decades.
At the same time, Palestinian activists have argued that the high court has further entrenched Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, having never considered the legality of Israeli settlements there, even though they’re 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 have condemned the court’s involvement in approving the eviction of settlers from Gaza and the Northern West Bank in 2005.