Yariv Levin: Crazy we destroy settler houses, but not some terrorists’

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The Knesset Speaker was specifically referring to two recent decisions by the High Court.

Knesset Speaker Yariv Levin speaks at a meeting of the Central Elections Committee, July 7, 2020 (photo credit: ADINA WALLMAN/KNESSET SPOKESWOMAN)

Knesset Speaker Yariv Levin speaks at a meeting of the Central Elections Committee, July 7, 2020

(photo credit: ADINA WALLMAN/KNESSET SPOKESWOMAN)

Knesset Speaker Yariv Levin on Thursday said it makes no sense that the High Court of Justice, “cannot justify destroying the houses of terrorists, but at the same time can [justify] destroying the houses” of Jewish settlers in the West Bank.

Speaking at the Israel Bar Association conference in Herzliya, Levin said the situation is “intolerable” and that “for our High Court, what determines decisions… is who is asking for their rights to be protected,” explicitly accusing the court of siding with leftist causes and turning its back on defending the rights of right-wing causes.

The Knesset Speaker was specifically referring to two recent decisions by the High Court.

In July, the High Court vetoed the demolition of the home of Palestinian Nizmi Abu Bakar, who has been indicted for killing soldier Amit Ben-Yigal by dropping a large slab on his head from a roof.

In August, the court ordered the demolition of the the unauthorized Jewish West Bank Mitzpe Kramim outpost, which was built on private Palestinian property.

The court did give the residents 36 months to evacuate, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said that he would try to find some creative solution to help them remain where they are or nearby.

Pressed to address highly hyperbolic language against the High Court, Levin for a moment agreed that critical language should remain professional, but quickly pivoted, saying that the root of the problem was the court injecting itself into politics.

He said that many major High Court decisions are made using the judicial doctrines of “reasonability” and “proportionality,” two concepts which he said it can and does easily abuse based on its left-wing political worldview.

Levin admitted that in the current coalition, due to the alliance with the centrist Blue and White Party, he will not have the votes to push through a new law to give the Knesset the ability to override High Court vetoes of Knesset laws.

Levin also admitted that he has changed the way the position of Knesset Speaker operates, diving further into political issues than his predecessors.

He said that legally, he can fulfill his obligation as speaker to remain neutral, while still fighting for Likud Party causes at the expense of other parties, as long as he also protects the opposition’s right to have a voice.

Citing that he made sure the opposition would run the Knesset State Control Committee, he said he has fulfilled this duty.

In addition, he said that appointments of key law enforcement officials are completely frozen for the time being as Likud and Blue and White work on bridging their differences over the country’s budget.

Levin is known as one of the High Court’s most radical critics, with some critics seeking more cosmetic reforms to balance the court’s powers, while he seeks a massive restructuring of the separation of powers.

Critics of Levin say he ignores the fact that Israel has no constitution – something the Knesset should solve – which forces the High Court of Justice to rule on quasi-constitutional issues.

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