Tel-Aviv, March 19 this week the Israeli regime has experienced an unprecedented crisis. Late on Saturday night, interim Justice Minister Amir Ohana (Netanyahu's Likud party) announced almost total closure of the courts. The unlawful purported Corona emergency regulation was to be in effect only for 24 hours. However, the Jerusalem District Court judges, of their own initiative, immediately followed by rendering a decision, extending by two months Netanyahu's arraignment hearing on charges of bribes, deceit, and breach of trust, which was scheduled for Tuesday, following long delays.
In parallel, Health Minister Yaakov Litzman, a follower of the Ger Hasidic dynasty (United Torah Judaism party) and Netanyahu's faithful partner, tried to prevent the newly elected Knesset (parliament) from convening under unlawful emergency Corona health regulations. When that failed, Knesset Chairman Yuli Edelstein (Likud party) prevented convening of the Knesset, under his authority to set the agenda. The newly elected narrow majority demanded that the agenda for the first Knesset seating include election of a new Chair and election of new permanent committees, as required by the Base Law (a quasi-constitution). Additionally, the new majority demanded the passage of laws that prohibit a defendant in a criminal matter from being appointed prime minister and limit the prime minster to two terms in office. Combined, such measures could mean that Netanyahu and his supporters lose their power, and no matter what, Netanyahu would have no possible effective protection against his pending criminal prosecution.
The March 02, 2020 election was the third within a year. In all three elections Netanyahu failed to win a majority to secure his ongoing tenure as prime minister. However, during these three election cycles Netanyahu has remained in office as interim prime minister.
On Monday, Netanyahu issued emergency regulations, permitting electronic policing of the entire public by the Shin-Bet and the Israel Police under the guise of fighting the epidemic" [i] Israel is known for its electronic surveillance capabilities, second to none, routinely abused to suppress the Palestinians. [ii] Cyber espionage, related to Netanyahu, has also been suspected during the recent election cycles" [iii] Now, the same capabilities were to be openly applied on the public at large. The new regulations required Knesset approval. However, given the failure of the Knesset to convene, Netanyahu's government issued such regulations, unapproved, under the pretext of Corona emergency. Netanyahu's government refused to disclose the new "Top Secret" classified Shin-Bet policing regulations even to interim Chair of the Knesset's Foreign and Security Affairs Committee, retired IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi (Blue and White party) - now one of the opposition's leaders.
"For the First Time Ever, Israeli Democracy Has Been Shut Down", ran a title in Haaretz daily. [iv]
On such background, this morning a convoy, numbering hundreds of cars, flying black flags, got on its way from Tel-Aviv to Jerusalem to protest against Knesset Chairman Edelstein's refusal to convene the newly elected Knesset. The Israel Police tried to stop the convoy's arrival in Jerusalem in clear disregard of the law. Regardless, the convoy managed to arrive at the Knesset. In the following clashes with police, 9 protesters were detained.
Figure. Protest activist, former Shin-Bet agent Gonen Ben-Itzhak:
Hundreds of cars, flying black flags, on their way to protest in Jerusalem, are held by police on the highway.
We shall not let Netanyahu lock down the Knesset!
Figure. Opposition figure, retired IDF Chief of Staff/retired PM Ehud Barak:
#Black_Flag resistance has been launched!
The Knesset was wiped out, the courts are locked, protesters are detained. There are moments in the life of a nation, when citizens' action pave the way for the leadership. We are in such a moment. First step in a long struggle. We the citizens are not to be trampled. We shall fight and we shall win. Take a part in the struggle. Hang a black flag on your balcony or your window. Yes, now!