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  Opinion   Edit  02 Jan 2024  AA Edit | A judicial rap for Netanyahu

AA Edit | A judicial rap for Netanyahu

Published : Jan 3, 2024, 12:00 am IST
Updated : Jan 3, 2024, 12:00 am IST

The Israeli army may have strategically decided to pull some troops from Gaza

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. (File Photo: AFP)
 Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. (File Photo: AFP)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has been steering Israel’s increasingly disproportionate response to a chilling Hamas attack on his country on October 7, received a jolt from the Israel supreme court which struck down a law his far-right coalition had passed five months ago to limit the court’s powers while allowing politicians to control judges’ appointments.

This was probably the first check on Mr Netanyahu’s plans for taking on the judiciary, which he might have to postpone now even as he may have to battle to extend his political career after the Gaza war ends. Under the terms of the agreement of the emergency coalition that he heads now, the Israeli government is committed to passing only legislation relating to the war.

It is the war that will continue to define Mr Netanyahu’s present more than his future as he seems committed to destroying the Hamas command and its military infrastructure in the Gaza Strip. Towards attempting to take down Hamas, the Israeli PM has taken such a hawk-like position as to defy world opinion as well as the advice of his biggest benefactor in the US President Joe Biden regarding targeting military operations to spare the civilians of Gaza.

The judicial setback, which came by the slenderest of margins as eight judges voted for and seven dissented in the matter of shooting down the sweeping reform plan, may linger as Mr Netanyahu drives his troops on. The judges did, however, vote overwhelmingly that they had the authority to exercise power over Israel’s Basic Laws.

The Israeli army may have strategically decided to pull some troops from Gaza while sending more towards the Lebanon border where tensions with Hezbollah have been rising. It appears the PM and his wartime cabinet are planning to run the Gaza war for the whole of 2024 and longer if needed, and regardless of the extreme numbers of collateral Palestinian casualties, now thought to be nearing the 23,000-mark, even as the entire population of Gaza faces conditions close to a famine.

The prolonged operations in Gaza are also leading to situations, as in global shipping, threatening more than just the conflict-ridden Middle East. So long as Israel keeps pounding the Gaza Strip, reducing large parts of cities to rubble, the fear of a wider war cannot be scotched. It is far more than his higher judiciary that Mr Netanyahu is taking on now.

Tags: israel, gaza, conflict, netanyahu, judicial setback, supreme court, hamas