Netanyahu wants ‘consensus’ for justice reforms after Biden rebuke
Washington, Mar 29 (EFE).- Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday said he was intent on finding a “broad” consensus on his government’s highly divisive judicial overhaul.
His right-wing coalition government’s proposed reforms have sparked the biggest protests in the country’s history and have also been criticized by staunch ally the United States.
“You may have noticed Israel is undergoing, in its robust democracy, a very intensive public debate. And the debate is how do we ensure a proper democracy,” Netanyahu told the US-led Summit for Democracy.
The PM added that he ordered a pause in the reforms to promote dialogue with the opposition in search of a “broad national consensus” that would protect democracy and civil rights.
“We have to move from protest to agreement, and that’s where I want to get.”
Netanyahu told the summit that the friendship between Israel and the US was “unshakable” just hours after he rebuffed calls from Joe Biden to bury the controversial reforms.
Before the summit on Wednesday, the Israeli PM took to Twitter to say: “Israel is a sovereign country which makes its decisions by the will of its people and not based on pressures from abroad, including from the best of friends.
“The alliance between Israel and the United States is unbreakable and always overcomes the occasional disagreements between us.”
Netanyahu was responding to Biden’s comments to US reporters on Tuesday evening, in which he urged the Israeli leader to “walk away” from the judicial overhaul.
Biden added Tuesday that he had no plans to invite Netanyahu to Washington in “the near term.”
According to reports in Israeli media, Netanyahu is unhappy that he has yet to be invited to the White House since returning to office in late December last year.
Israeli president Isaac Herzog opened talks on Tuesday between members of the coalition government and the opposition, which says the judicial reforms would undermine Israel’s separation of powers and its democracy.
Broad sectors of Israeli society, such as the finance and tech sectors as well as some members of the military, have backed the protests.
“My administration is committed to strengthening democracy by restoring the proper balance between the three branches of government, which we are striving to achieve via a broad consensus,” Netanyau stressed in his rebuke to Biden. EFE