Israel: Herzog Calls on Arabs to Participate in Dialogue on Judicial Reforms

Model of a fighter aircraft during protests in Tel Aviv against Netanyahu’s government plans. (AP)
Model of a fighter aircraft during protests in Tel Aviv against Netanyahu’s government plans. (AP)
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Israel: Herzog Calls on Arabs to Participate in Dialogue on Judicial Reforms

Model of a fighter aircraft during protests in Tel Aviv against Netanyahu’s government plans. (AP)
Model of a fighter aircraft during protests in Tel Aviv against Netanyahu’s government plans. (AP)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that he will not seek to further advance a bill that is personally related to him.

Meanwhile, Israeli President Isaac Herzog urged Arab parties' representatives to participate in the dialogue on judicial reforms, similar to other Israeli political parties.

Netanyahu spoke confidently on Wednesday that he had reached a mid-way solution with the opposition regarding the judicial amendments, which had drawn criticism from US President Joe Biden.

Addressing the US-led Summit for Democracy, he said the negotiators will "try to achieve a broad national consensus to achieve both goals. We're now engaged in exactly this conversation".

In this context, Herzog met on Wednesday with a Hadash-Ta’al delegation consisting of five deputies.

The MPs asserted their objection to the “judicial coup” which could undermine the Arab citizens' rights and ban real democracy.

The delegation warned of the danger of forming armed militias called the ‘National Guard’ under Israel's National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir.

These militias would target Arabs and Palestinians in Jerusalem with no supervision, it added.

Lawmaker Ayman Odeh said after the meeting that the delegation stressed two points. The first is that it is part of the protests movement and hopes for its success. But the initial and real success is to continue until ousting this government, and this is possible, Odeh said.

The second point is that democracy doesn’t mean returning the old Ashkenazi elite but its means democracy for all. Ending occupation, the Nation-State Bill, and discrimination against Arab citizens come at its core.

Herzog started the dialogue on Tuesday between the government representatives and Yesh Atid (There is a Future) party led by Yair Lapid and the State Camp party run by Benny Gantz.

The dialogue was resumed on Wednesday with the rest of the parties, and they discussed laying common bases to carry out the reforms in the two laws as per the mid-way plan proposed by him two weeks ago.

Although the government representatives refused it then, they later approved it as a foundation that could change. But the opposition doubted the government’s intention.

Netanyahu responded to the opposition and a number of his deputies and ministers and withdrew the “Gifts Law” but considered the second law “only a technical procedure”.

For his part, Justice Minister Yariv Levin stated that the legislation will be renewed after the holidays.

The ‘Gifts Law’ which was halted by Netanyahu allows the prime minister to get donations to fund his trial for any charge including corruption.

If the law is passed, then Netanyahu can keep the $300,000 that was donated by a relative to fund his legal expenses. Israel's high court ordered Netanyahu to pay back $270,000 out of this amount.



Egypt Needs to Import $1.18 Billion in Fuel to End Power Cuts, PM Says

The moon is seen after the day of Strawberry Moon over old houses in Cairo, Egypt, June 22, 2024. (Reuters)
The moon is seen after the day of Strawberry Moon over old houses in Cairo, Egypt, June 22, 2024. (Reuters)
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Egypt Needs to Import $1.18 Billion in Fuel to End Power Cuts, PM Says

The moon is seen after the day of Strawberry Moon over old houses in Cairo, Egypt, June 22, 2024. (Reuters)
The moon is seen after the day of Strawberry Moon over old houses in Cairo, Egypt, June 22, 2024. (Reuters)

Egypt needs to import around $1.18 billion worth of mazut fuel oil and natural gas to end persistent power cuts exacerbated by consecutive heat waves, its Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly said in a televised address on Tuesday.

It hopes the shipments will arrive in full around the third week of July, by which point the government aims to stop cutting power during the remaining summer months, he added.

It has already started contracting for 300,000 tons of mazut worth $180 million to boost its strategic reserves which are expected to arrive early next week.

Egypt's government on Monday extended daily power cuts to three hours from two hours previously in response to a surge in domestic electricity consumption during the latest heat wave.

These three-hour cuts will continue until the end of June, before returning to two hours in the first half of July with the aim of stopping completely for the rest of the summer, Madbouly said on Tuesday.

Egyptian social media has lit up with complaints about the impact of the blackouts, with some saying they have been forced to purchase private power generators.

The problem has particularly affected teenagers preparing for the crucial high school certificate, with some posting about students studying by candlelight and others in coffee shops.

A wedding hall owner in the coastal city of Port Said said he would turn one of his ballrooms into a study hall.

Since July last year, load shedding linked to falling gas production, rising demand and a shortage of foreign currency has led to scheduled two-hour daily power cuts in most areas.

"We had said that we planned to end load shedding by the end of 2024... we do not have a power generation problem or a network problem, we are unable to provide fuel," Madbouly said on Tuesday.

"With the increase in consumption related to the major development and population increase, there has been a lot of pressure on our dollar resources," he added.

He said production in a neighboring country's gas field had come to a full halt for 12 hours leading to an interruption in the supply, without naming the country or the gas field.

Egypt's Abu Qir Fertilizers said on Tuesday three of its plants had halted production because their supply of natural gas was cut.