24 | 08 | 2019

Israeli lawmakers advanced a bill on Monday, May 7, that will allow the government to hold up tax revenue due the Palestinian Authority (PA) over its payments to “convicted terrorists.” “We’re shutting off the tap on Abu Mazen,” tweeted far-right Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, referring to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas by his nickname.

An anti-democratic bill that would allow the Knesset to re-pass laws struck down by the Supreme Court received the Ministerial Committee for Legislation’s unanimous approval Sunday, May 6, despite Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s call to postpone the vote. The bill is not likely to get the 61 votes necessary to pass Basic Laws or amendments to existing ones in the Knesset plenum, because Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon instructed Kulanu’s 10 MKs to vote against it, and Likud MK Bennie Begin said he will do so, as well. Yet far-right HaBayit HaYehudi (The Jewish Home) leader Naftali Bennett and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked of the same party, who is chairwoman of the ministerial committee, pushed for a vote on a version of the override clause proposed by MK Bezalel Smotrich, also of HaBayit HaYehudi.

The Knesset passed on Tuesday, May 1, a law that urges, but does not obligate, judges to rule in light of the principles of Jewish religious law if confronted with an issue on which there is no relevant legislation or judicial precedents. The controversial law passed its final parliamentary vote with 39 Knesset members in favor and 32 opposed.

The Knesset granted late on Monday, April 30, far-right Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu greater authority to take Israel to war, at a time when tensions between Israel and Iran are reaching new heights. Netanyahu can now, “in “extreme situations,” launch a war with only the approval of the defense minister, currently hardliner Avigdor Lieberman. Previously the prime minister would need the approval of the entire Israeli cabinet in order to declare war.

Some 3,000 people turned out Saturday night, April 28, for a demonstration, in central Tel Aviv, against the plans of the far-right government to pass legislation that would limit the Supreme Court’s authority to strike down legislation on constitutional grounds. The demonstrators, who congregated outside the HaBima national theater, held aloft signs with slogans including “Bibi get your hands off the Supreme Court,” and “Bibi go home.”

Thousands of Arabs and Jews, gathered in Nazareth on Saturday morning, April 28, to take part in the city’s annual May Day march organized by Hadash and the Communist Party of Israel (CPI). While keeping with the tradition of commemorating International Workers’ Day, the demonstrators also marched against the occupation as well as Israel’s repression of Palestinians in Gaza and the neo-liberal social and economic policies of Netanyahu’s far-right government. Together the participants called for justice, peace, and workers’ rights.

Four Palestinians were killed and hundreds more were wounded on Friday, April 27, in a fifth round of weekly protests along the Gaza Strip border fence with Israel. Gaza’s Health Ministry announced Saturday that 15-year-old Azzam Oweida, who was hit in the head by a gas canister fired by the Israeli Army during Friday’s protest, died on Saturday from his wounds.

Anti-occupation conscientious objector Matan Helman has been exempted from service in the Israeli army and was released from prison on Thursday, April 26, after six stints behind bars adding up to a total of 110 days. The official reason given by military authorities for his release from compulsory service: “Bad and grave behavior.”

Commemorations for this year’s May Day, the International Workers’ Solidarity day, will take place with several rallies and meetings across Israel, including in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Nazareth, Beer-Sheva, Kufr Yassif in the Western Galilee, as well as in various others locations.

Two cars were torched and a stone fence was sprayed with graffiti reading “Jews, let’s win” overnight Tuesday, April 24, in the northern Arab village of Iksal. Joint List Chairman, MK Ayman Odeh (Hadash) said this latest racist attack was a serious matter and claimed that “determined police action is necessary to end hate crimes towards Arab citizens of Israel and Palestinians in the occupied territories.”

Organizations involved in the struggle to stop the deportation of African refugees and asylum seekers in Israel celebrated on Tuesday, April 24, after the government announced that its plan to do so will not be carried out. Far-right Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was forced to renege on plans to deport tens of thousands of Africans living in Israel after he failed to find any third country that would be willing to take them in.

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