Talks to reach a compromise on judicial reform are not advancing, National Unity Chairman Benny Gantz of the opposition reported during a meeting of his party’s Knesset faction on Monday.
“Unfortunately, although the talks at the President’s Residence are conducted in a respectful atmosphere, they are not making progress on any of the issues, especially regarding the Judicial Selection Committee,” Gantz said.
“We will not permit playing for time that will allow the coalition to advance the legislation at a time and place convenient to it. We will strive for progress and agreements with an emphasis on a solution for the Judicial Selection Committee,” he continued.
Earlier reports said the opposition opposes the coalition’s proposal that it receive control over the next two appointments to the 15-judge Supreme Court.
During the weekly Cabinet meeting on Sunday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, “We have a fundamental disagreement [with the opposition parties] on the matter of reform … [W]e are making every effort to resolve this debate through dialogue. With goodwill by both sides, I am convinced that it is possible to reach agreements—and I give this my full backing.”
Netanyahu put the reform legislation on hold at the end of March to give extra-parliamentary negotiations time to play out.
The prime minister’s decision came amid weeks of anti-reform protests, civil disobedience and a general strike sparked by his dismissal (since withdrawn) of Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, who on March 26 broke with the government to urge that legislation be postponed for the sake of national unity and military morale.
Coalition members have said that if the talks fail, they will move forward with a package of reform bills in the Knesset. Several have passed a first reading (three readings in the Knesset are required for a bill to become law), among them a bill that would give the coalition a majority in the Judicial Selection Committee and another for an override clause so the Knesset could re-legislate laws struck down by the Supreme Court.
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