The Biden administration is “deeply concerned” about ongoing tensions in Israel after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu fired his defense minister on Sunday.
Adrian Watson, spokesman for the National Security Council, said he was “deeply concerned by today’s developments from Israel, which further underscores the urgent need for compromise.” statement Sunday.
Netanyahu supports controversial judicial reforms that would allow the government to overturn Supreme Court decisions and give the executive branch the power to appoint judges.
He sacked Defense Minister Joav Galan on Sunday after Galan spoke out on the proposal for the first time in his cabinet, urging him to delay the implementation of reforms. The dismissal sparked outrage across Israel as protesters flocked to the streets to condemn the move.
Watson’s statement urged Israeli leaders to “find a middle ground as soon as possible”, saying it was “the best way forward for Israel and all its citizens”.
The statement reiterated US support for Israel, but emphasized that any changes to the democratic system should have broad popular support.
“As the president recently discussed with Prime Minister Netanyahu, democratic values have always been a hallmark of US-Israel relations and must continue to change,” the spokesperson said. “Democratic societies are reinforced by checks and balances, and fundamental changes in democratic systems should be pursued with the broadest possible popular support.”
The proposal sparked international criticism as U.S. lawmakers expressed concerns about the proposed judicial plan.
Israeli consul general Asaf Zamir announced his resignation on Sunday, saying he was “increasingly interested” in the policies of the Israeli government. He specifically said Netanyahu’s decision to fire Gallant “convinced” him to resign.
“Israel’s political situation has reached a crisis point and I feel a deep sense of responsibility and moral obligation to stand up for what is right and fight for the democratic values I hold so dear,” said Zamir. said in a statement.
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