Netanyahu responds to Biden following a US warning over a judicial stalemate

Biden [R] warns Israel "cannot continue" pressing for deeply controversial judicial reforms which have prompted months of unrest and criticism among Western allies. (Photo: Reuters)

In reaction to US Vice President Joe Biden's remarks, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has stated that Israel is a sovereign nation that does not base its actions on external pressure.

Biden stated on Tuesday that he hoped Netanyahu would abandon the judicial reforms that provoked protests and a political crisis in Israel's government.

Netanyahu retorted early Wednesday morning, "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,"

He stated that his administration aimed to implement reforms "via broad consensus."

Netanyahu stated, "I have known President Biden for over 40 years, and I appreciate his longstanding commitment to Israel,"

Israel "cannot proceed down this path."

Earlier, Biden cautioned Israel that it "cannot continue" to drive for highly contentious judicial reforms, which have provoked months of turmoil and anger among Western partners.

"Like many strong supporters of Israel, I'm very concerned... They cannot continue down this road, and I've made that clear," Biden told reporters during a visit to North Carolina.

"Hopefully, the prime minister [Benjamin Netanyahu] will act in a way that he will try to work out some genuine compromise, but that remains to be seen," Biden said, adding that he was not considering bringing Netanyahu to the White House, at least "not in the near term."

The ambitions of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's coalition to restructure the court have been met with unprecedented protests and labour strikes in Israel. Netanyahu announced on Monday that he would delay the reorganization to begin discussions with the plan's opponents.

There is little indication that either side will back down when parliament reconvenes next month or that the 73-year-old Likud party leader will be able to negotiate a compromise to keep him in office without further dividing Israeli society.

Late on Tuesday night, Israel's most far-right government and opposition parties concluded a "positive" first discussion on controversial judiciary reforms that provoked a nationwide strike and widespread protests, precipitating the country's worst domestic crisis in years.

"After about an hour and a half, the meeting, which took place in a positive spirit, came to an end," the office of President Isaac Herzog stated.

"Tomorrow, President Isaac Herzog will continue the series of meetings," it continued.

His office referred to discussions with working teams from the ruling coalition, Yesh Atid, and the National Unity Party — two centrist parties — as "a first dialogue meeting."

Yesh Atid tweeted, "We thank the president for opening his house to the negotiation process for the benefit of the citizens of Israel,"

Publish : 2023-03-29 10:32:00

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