Violent clashes erupt as Knesset approves part of controversial judicial overhaul
Protests have erupted leading to clashes between the Israeli protesters against Netanyahu’s judicial overhaul and the police as the Knesset approved key part of the plan.
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The regime's legislature approved the first bill of the plan in a tumultuous session on Monday that saw the opposition legislators walking out in protest and shouting “for shame!”
The bill prevents the regime’s Supreme Court from striking down the Israeli cabinet’s decisions if it deems them to be “unreasonable.”
It is part of a broader scheme that Netanyahu announced in January as means of supposedly curbing what he called decades of undue political interference by judges.
The scheme’s opponents, however, argue that it will remove necessary checks on the power that is wielded by the politicians. They also accuse Netanyahu, who is on trial on several counts of corruption charges, of trying to use the scheme to quash possible judgments against him.
Israelis have been holding thousands-strong rallies on a weekly basis throughout the occupied territories since Netanyahu announced his intention to have the Knesset pass the so-called overhaul plan.
Demonstrations against the bill began early Monday with the regime's forces dragging away protesters who had chained themselves to posts in the occupied city of al-Quds and blocked the road outside the Knesset.
As evening approached, thousands of protesters took to the streets in a number of cities across the occupied territories, blocking highways and scuffling with Israeli forces. Israeli authorities said at least 19 people were arrested on Monday.
Protesters who had rallied in al-Quds outside the Knesset were finally cleared by Israeli forces, who dragged them across the asphalt and used water cannons to disperse them, including one that sprayed a foul-smelling substance.
In the coastal city of Tel Aviv, horse-mounted Israeli forces tried to disperse a crowd on the main highway, where protesters had lit small fires.
Outside the city, a driver rammed his car into a small crowd that was blocking a road, lightly wounding three people. The driver was later arrested.
Just a few minutes after the Knesset's vote, a political watchdog group said it would appeal against the bill at the Supreme Court.
Netanyahu, made a televised speech after sundown as the protests raged on, alleging that he would seek dialogue with the opposition in order to reach an all-inclusive agreement by the end of November.
Tel Aviv's main share indices tumbled as much as 2.5 percent following the vote in the Knesset, while the regime's currency, shekel, slid one percent against the dollar.
Opposition leaders have pledged to challenge the bill, while the head of a major labor federation threatened to declare a general strike if Netanyahu's cabinet pursued "unilateral" measures.