White House says 'we welcome' Netanyahu pause on judicial reforms

AFP , Monday 27 Mar 2023

The White House on Monday welcomed the pause in plans for controversial judicial reforms by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

White house press secretary
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre speaks during a press briefing at the White House, Monday, March 27, 2023, in Washington. AP


"We welcome this announcement as an opportunity to create additional time and space for compromise," Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said. "A compromise is precisely what we have been calling for....

"Democratic societies are strengthened by checks and balances and fundamental changes to a democratic system should be pursued with the broadest possible base of popular support."

The pause on judicial reform comes after months of street rallies that drew tens of thousands.

"Out of a sense of national responsibility, out of a will to prevent a rupture among our people, I have decided to pause the second and third readings of the bill," Netnayahu told the nation.

He added he would delay consideration of the bill to the next session of parliament which begins in the second half of April.

Israeli President Isaac Herzog earlier Monday had called for an immediate halt to the legislative process, a day after Netanyahu fired his defence minister Yoav Gallant for making a similar demand.

That sparked a general strike call on Monday from Israel's top trade union chief, Arnon Bar-David, but he called off the action after Netanyahu's address.

"Following the prime minister's announcement I declare the end of the strike," Bar-David, chairman of the Histadrut trade union confederation, said in a statement.

Flights were disrupted, hospitals stopped non-emergency service, and even diplomats had walked off the job on Monday.

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