US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan Raises Israeli Judicial Reforms in Meeting with Netanyahu

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FILE PHOTO: White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan addresses the daily press briefing at the White House in Washington, U.S. October 26, 2021. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst/File Photo

Assessment: Prophecy Tracker rule of thumb: When US officials stress the ‘unbreakable bond’ between the US and Israel, Bibi better watch his back …

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US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan raised the issue of Israel’s impending judicial reform measures in a one-on-one meeting Thursday with Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s Walla news reported Thursday.

Sullivan’s discussion of the judicial reforms marks the first time that the issue has been raised by the Biden administration, which has taken a cautious approach towards the new right-wing Israeli government.

You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Matthew 7:16

Statements by President Biden, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and US Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides have stressed the “unbreakable bond” between the US and Israel and continuing alignment between the two governments on security issues, while preemptively suggesting that the Biden administration would be opposed to any measures that “contradict our mutual interests and values” or that might undermine the two-state solution.

The White House readout of Sullivan’s meeting, however, omitted any discussion of the judicial reform package, saying instead that in his meetings with Netanyahu and other Israeli officials that he discussed regional security threats including Iran, as well as Ukraine and the growing military partnership between Iran and Russia. The White House also issued a joint statement Sullivan made with his counterparts from Israel, the UAE, and Bahrain about improving ties between the signatories of the Abraham Accords, which normalized relations between Israel and the UAE and Bahrain.

Israel has faced domestic mass protests in recent days over the publication of four draft bills that would significantly curtail the judiciary’s ability to strike down laws and would give the Knesset greater control over judicial appointments. Critics of the legislation, including Israel’s Chief Justice Esther Hayut, say the reforms are a threat to Israeli democracy, while its proponents argue that the measures are necessary to hold the courts accountable to the popularly elected government.

The White House readout of Sullivan’s meeting, however, omitted any discussion of the judicial reform package, saying instead that in his meetings with Netanyahu and other Israeli officials that he discussed regional security threats including Iran, as well as Ukraine and the growing military partnership between Iran and Russia. The White House also issued a joint statement Sullivan made with his counterparts from Israel, the UAE, and Bahrain about improving ties between the signatories of the Abraham Accords, which normalized relations between Israel and the UAE and Bahrain.

Israel has faced domestic mass protests in recent days over the publication of four draft bills that would significantly curtail the judiciary’s ability to strike down laws and would give the Knesset greater control over judicial appointments. Critics of the legislation, including Israel’s Chief Justice Esther Hayut, say the reforms are a threat to Israeli democracy, while its proponents argue that the measures are necessary to hold the courts accountable to the popularly elected government.

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