Israel becoming a 'tyrannical state' warns leading judge

Israel becoming a 'tyrannical state' warns leading judge
The president of Israel's supreme court warned of the dangers of 'majority rule' in a speech against the controversial settlement's act.
2 min read
09 December, 2016
Violence by Zionist settlers against Palestinians has increased further in recent months [AFP]

The president of Israel's supreme court warned the government against imposing tyrannical rule and spoke out against "the power of the majority" on Thursday.

Judge Miriam Naor made the statements at the president's official residence in Jerusalem, while attacking a controversial plan to legalise Israeli settlements on Palestinian land.

"A majority that denies individuals their rights, that oppresses the minority living in its midst - is not a democratic administration," Naor said.

"Majority rule is a necessary condition for democracy, but it is an insufficient one - without curbing the power of the majority, the system may become a tyranny."

Critics say the proposed settlements act - which would legitimise 4,000 settler homes in the occupied West Bank - is an important step towards the eventual annexation of the West Bank.

The US and UN have both criticised the legality of the settlements act in strong language over the past few days.

"Enabling the use of land privately-owned by Palestinians for Israeli settlements without the owners' consent, this legislation would violate international law," said UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Raad al-Hussein.

Naor also spoke of the importance of protecting human rights for all members of society in her speech at a swearing-in ceremony for new judges.

"Protecting basic principles and human rights cannot, therefore, be considered an undemocratic act - but the very embodiment of democracy. The majority and the state - any democratic state - must respect the rights of all and protect these rights."

Tourism Minister Yariv Levin said on Friday the supreme court was dealing in "double standards" and acting outside of its remit.

"Some of our judges are trying to impose their ideas."

"All this way for the president of the supreme court to put a challenge to the ability and the right of the Knesset and the government to work and apply their powers is, in my view, problematic - it is absolutely forbidden."