RAMALLAH, January 18 (JMCC) - Last week, Judge Noam Sohlberg was appointed to Israel's Supreme Court, making him the first judge to live in an Israeli settlement in the occupied West Bank.
These jurists also sit on Israel's High Court of Justice, a court of judicial review, and sometimes rule on issues related to international law, which the settlements violate.
Solhberg lives in the settlement of Alon Shvut in the southern West Bank and blogger Eyal Clyne writes that
his inclusion is just one sign that the court is making a rightward turn.
Being a settler, Sohlberg has a clear conflict of interests, since he will have the authority to rule on appeals against government policies violating International Law, while himself violating International Law on a daily basis. In fact, he has a personal and political interest in continuing to legitimize Israel’s ongoing and expanding illegal settlement project.
Sohlberg is not an outstanding judge. He has a proven record of controversial anti-liberal rulings in lower courts, some of which were later reversed. For example, he rejected an appeal to allow registration of nationality in Israeli ID cards as “Israeli” rather than “Jewish” or “Arab;” he supported the state against an Israeli living abroad, after his passport wasn’t renewed because he did not return to do military service; and he acquitted a policeman who shot a man dead (a ruling which was later reversed unanimously by the Supreme Court).
Justice Grunis is an opponent of the current ‘activist’ constitutional approach of the Israeli High Court of Justice – an approach that usually supports equality and civil rights. He was the most blatant of the 11 Justices in a groundbreaking ruling last Wednesday, that upheld a 2003 amendment to Israel’s Citizenship Law, writing that “human rights should not be a prescription for national suicide” (i.e. non-Jewish citizens are not of Israeli nationality, in what I call the “nicht-Juden raus” policy).