After the Storm? The Israeli Supreme Court and the Arab-Palestinian Minority in the Aftermath of October 2000
Israel Affairs, Vol. 14, No. 4, pp. 623-639, 2008
18 Pages Posted: 2 Mar 2011
Date Written: 2008
The purpose of the article is to analyze major aspects of the performance of the Israeli Supreme Court vis-à-vis the Arab-Palestinian minority since October 2000.
The article advances three arguments. First, the Supreme Court has truly held the post of guardian of democratic tenets with respect to the civil and political rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens. Second, the Court serves (sometimes unintentionally) as a guide or a mediator demarcating an intermediate path for Israeli society, one which might tread the middle ground between two almost polar options for the Israeli society: the bi-national state (an idea which is gaining popularity with the minority but is rejected outright by the Jewish majority), and the existing status quo (strongly resented by the minority). This intermediate path, or bridging vision, may prove a defense against a violent breakdown of inter-communal relations in Israel proper. The third argument goes the other direction and criticizes the Supreme Court. The Court often evades providing remedies in the direction it itself has signaled, and its reluctance to act appears in instances that cannot be explained by major legitimation difficulties in protecting the minority.
Taken together this two-steps-forward-one-step-backward performance paints a somewhat enigmatic picture. The article does not solve the enigma, but by unfolding its traits it hopefully opens the way for further efforts in this direction.
Keywords: supreme court israel, supreme court in deeply divided societies, minority rights israel,human rights protection israel
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation