Israeli PM suspends judicial overhaul plan amid protests

New York: Amid nationwide protests, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has announced that he would suspend the legislation of his contentious plan to overhaul the country’s judiciary by about a month to allow “dialogue” between coalition and opposition lawmakers.

He made the remarks in a televised speech earlier this week, which came after tens of thousands of Israelis rallied outside Parliament earlier in the day and a general strike to protest the overhaul, reports Xinhua news agency.

Netanyahu said he has decided to suspend the legislation in order to “allow time to try and reach a broad agreement” on the reforms.

“In any case,” the legislation blitz will resume after the Knesset, or Parliament, reconvene after the Passover holiday break on April 30, he said.

Opponents of the judicial overhaul rejected Netanyahu’s statement, saying that the suspension is not real because there is no discussion or voting while the Knesset is in recess, which began on Monday.

“As long as the Prime Minister and his far-right allies intend to resume the legislation, we will be on the street,” she added. Following Netanyahu’s remarks, Israel’s largest trade union Histadrut, which represents 800,000 workers from infrastructure, banking, transportation, health and other sectors, announced the general strike that paralyzed the economy on Monday will end on Tuesday.

The Israel Airports Authority said in a statement that outbound flights, which had been halted in the morning as part of the strike, have resumed. Benny Gantz, leader of the opposition party of the National Unity, said in a televised news conference that he and lawmakers from his party would take part in talks with the representatives of the coalition in President Isaac Herzog’s residence in Jerusalem.

The overhaul, proposed by the ruling coalition and aimed at curbing judicial power, has divided the country for weeks, with tens of thousands taking to the streets in demonstrations and blocking major highways across Israel and rallying outside the Knesset in Jerusalem.

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