Israeli opposition leaders freeze settlement talks on Netanyahu's judicial overhaul
Updated Jun 15, 2023
Israeli opposition leaders have announced that they had suspended the negotiations on settling a controversial judicial overhaul spearheaded by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Yair Lapid, Opposition leader in the Israeli parliament and chairman of the centrist Yesh Atid party, and Benny Gantz, Chairman of the centre-right National Unity party, said on Wednesday at a joint press conference that the talks were put on hold until the parliament's Judicial Selection Committee reconvenes.
The committee that picks the country's judges was now one person short to reconvene, after the parliament appointed an opposition lawmaker to one of the two vacancies in the committee, but failed to fill the second slot, because Netanyahu's coalition could not agree on a candidate who had broad support within the coalition.
The result highlighted divisions within Netanyahu's far-right coalition, which holds 64 seats in the 120-seat parliament, Xinhua news agency reported.
"No committee, no talks," Lapid said at the press conference.
Meanwhile, Netanyahu accused the opposition of attempting "to blow up the dialogue".
The compromise talks, sponsored by President Isaac Herzog, have been taking place over the past few weeks with little progress in sight. The talks aim to find a mutually agreed-upon version of Netanyahu's controversial plan to overhaul the judicial system, which his opponents say undermines the rule of law.
The plan has triggered nationwide protests, as tens of thousands have been holding weekly rallies against the plan across the country since January.