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Israel cabinet cancels law giving PM authority to declare war

May 24, 2018 at 12:08 pm

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israeli former Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman [James N. Mattis/Flickr]

The Israeli security cabinet yesterday decided “to act to cancel a law that gives a sitting prime minister and defence minister the authority to declare war without further backing from any other ministers or legislators,” reported Haaretz.

The law, which was approved by the Knesset in April, “differs from its original draft, which suggested that the authority to announce the country is going to war should be transferred from the cabinet to the inner cabinet.”

Subsequently, however, Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked was “authorised to act to obtain a majority in the Knesset within 30 days that would approve the original draft of the law”, said Haaretz.

The paper explained that “the original law, which is now going to be promoted anew, stated that the cabinet should be allowed to decide whether Israel ought to go to war or take any significant military action.”

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“It did not forbid the cabinet from making such a decision even if some of its members are absent when the decision is made.”

Haaretz noted that “the law was originally meant to tackle a legal deficiency: to this day, legislation acknowledges the government as the sole authority allowed to declare an initiated war.”

“However, since 1982, such decisions have not been made by the government but rather by the cabinet or even smaller forums.”

A committee headed by Yaakov Amidror “ruled that it was right to leave the authority to make such a decision to the cabinet, but that it ought to be determined through legislation”.