On Monday, July 24th, the Government of Israel passed legislation limiting their judicial system’s authority in relation to the Knesset (Israeli Parliament), hindering the government’s balance of powers and possibly limiting further accountability for human rights issues. This legislation cancels the “reasonableness” clause, which allowed the judicial system to block Knesset decisions and appointments they deemed unreasonable and contrary to public interest. Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP) supports the Biden Administration’s opposition to this legislation. CMEP supports democracy for citizens of Israel, including both Jewish and Palestinian citizens, and equal rights and self-determination for Palestinians living in the occupied Territories of East Jerusalem, the West Bank, and Gaza. While Palestinians living in the occupied Territories and Palestinian citizens of Israel have been denied human rights and full democratic participation as a result of the occupation, this change to the judicial system in Israel will further entrench the systematic and widespread violation of rights.
CMEP Executive Director Rev. Dr. Mae Elise Cannon said, “CMEP supports democracy for all, and while the shortcomings of Israel’s democracy have long been clear, the passage of this legislation is a major step in the wrong direction. Time will tell the breadth and depth of consequences this legislation has on human rights issues and a just and lasting peace in the region. A future of peace must include democracy for all people living in Israel and the oPt be they Israeli or Palestinian.”