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Biden warns Israeli leader on judicial changes

PoliticsElectionsBiden warns Israeli leader on judicial changes
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President Biden told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a phone call on Sunday that democratic values ​​- including “real checks and balances” – had to remain a pillar of US-Israel relations, his bid to overhaul Netanyahu Gave a caveat about the plan. country’s judicial system.

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According to a senior administration official, during the phone call between the two leaders, Biden expressed “concerns” about Netanyahu’s plan in a “frank and constructive conversation” that lasted about 45 minutes, which diplomatically requested anonymity to discuss the sensitive conversation.

In a readout of the call, the White House said Biden “underlined his belief that democratic values ​​have always been, and should remain, a hallmark of US-Israel relations, that democratic societies are strengthened by genuine checks and balances, and that Changes must be pursued with the broadest possible base of substantive popular support.

Biden also backed political talks now taking place in Israel to find a way forward on Netanyahu’s desired overhaul. “The President offered support for ongoing efforts to reach agreement on proposed judicial reforms consistent with those core principles,” the White House said.

Netanyahu’s proposed changes – which would give Knesset lawmakers control over judicial appointments, end judicial review of legislation and allow parliament to vote down Supreme Court rulings – have drawn thousands of Israelis to protest outside the streets and warn That the changes would destroy Israel’s democratic. System by not protecting the country’s courts from the political system anymore.

Biden, who has been a staunch supporter of Israel during his more than 50 years in politics and has longstanding ties to Netanyahu, has cautioned against the proposals and called for a compromise.

In Israel’s parliamentary system, the Supreme Court is seen as the sole control over parliamentarians and the prime minister. The High Court of Israel reviews appeals from lower courts and hears petitions filed against the government and public bodies. It has abolished targeting laws Ukrainian refugee And african asylum seekers and are delayed Expulsion of Palestinians in a sensitive Jerusalem neighborhood. In other cases, rights groups say, it has justified major violations of Palestinian rights.

The call with Netanyahu came alongside US officials, as well as Egyptian and Jordanian government officials, who helped broker meetings between Israeli and Palestinian political and security officials in an effort to ease tensions ahead of Ramadan, which this year coincides with Passover. And also overlapped with Easter.

The senior administration official said the meetings in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, marked the first time the United States It has played such a role in the Middle East since 2003. Ramadan has been a time of violent clashes over the past two years and heightened tensions in the region, the official said, adding that US officials expect the outbreak to escalate beyond the Muslim holy month this year.

The official said a key focus of the talks in Sharm el-Sheikh was “ensuring that extremist groups cannot take advantage of this period.” The official said previous Israeli governments had not been receptive to such talks in 2021 and 2022, but the White House was encouraged that the two sides were keen to gather this year.

“We had very frank discussions,” the senior administration official said, “there was good intention from the Israeli and Palestinian side and a firm commitment to do as little as possible, especially during the Ramadan period.”

Biden’s predecessor, former President Donald Trump, forged close ties with Netanyahu and aligned himself with hardline Israeli factions. Trump US embassy moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a move that previous presidents had avoided in an effort to maintain neutrality between Israeli and Palestinian claims to the city.

Netanyahu, for his part, embraced his relationship with Trump, using the US president’s image Election campaign and making little secret of his support for Trump’s re-election.

Since taking office, Biden, who visited israel last yearhas kept his distance from Netanyahu and sought to re-establish America’s traditional position – supporting the Jewish state, but support for the Palestinian cause and advocating a two-state solution.

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