Sunak hosts Netanyahu amid huge protests in Israel over justice reforms
London, Mar 24 (EFE).- The United Kingdom prime minister Rishi Sunak met Friday with his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu, who is facing unprecedented unrest domestically over a contentious judicial overhaul being pushed by his right-wing coalition government.
The reforms have sparked the largest demonstrations in Israel’s history, with critics saying they will undermine the separation of powers and Israel’s democratic identity.
In a statement, Downing Street said during their meeting that Sunak had “stressed the importance of upholding the democratic values that underpin our relationship, including in the proposed judicial reforms in Israel.”
Israel’s attorney general Gali Baharav-Miara on Friday warned Netanyahu that his direct involvement in the reforms would be “illegal” as it would amount to a conflict of interests and violate a deal he signed in order to govern despite an ongoing corruption trial.
Baharav-Miara’s letter was sent just hours after Netanyahu announced in a televised message to the nation Thursday night that he would take the reins and be directly involved in every step of the controversial legislation.
In addition to the war in Ukraine and other security and defense challenges, Sunak and Netanyahu also discussed their “significant concern about Iran’s destabilizing activity.”
In a separate statement, the Israeli PM’s office said Netanyahu had invited Sunak to visit Israel, and thanked him for the UK’s “determined stand on this matter and said that the major powers must step up the pressure and the deterrence on Iran.”
Downing Street said Sunak had expressed his solidarity with Israel in the wake of escalating violence with the Palestinians, saying the “UK would always stand with Israel and its ability to defend itself.
“At the same time, (Sunak) outlined international concern at growing tensions in the West Bank and the risk of undermining efforts towards the two state solution,” adding that the British prime minister “encouraged all efforts to de-escalate.” EFE