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Israel's thousands-strong protests continue across occupied territories as Netanyahu fires minister

Picture obtained from Twitter on March 26, 2023, shows thousands of Israelis rallying in the coastal city of Tel Aviv in the occupied territories for a second consecutive day against a controversial judicial overhaul that has been planned by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Thousands of protesters have taken to the streets across the occupied territories for a second straight day to protest Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's controversial and unpopular proposed plan to overhaul the occupying regime's judicial system.

The massive protests were held in a number of cities on Sunday, including in the coastal city of Tel Aviv and the occupied al-Quds, where the prime minister's home is located.

They came just a day after some 200,000 people held a protest rally in Tel Aviv as part of weekly demonstrations against the so-called judicial reforms. This is the 12th week in a row that Israeli demonstrators protest against Netanyahu's plan, calling him "crime minister."

In addition to Tel Aviv, a massive protest rally was also held in the occupied city of al-Quds, where crowds gathered outside Netanyahu's residence and at one point breached a security cordon around his house. 

As protesters poured into the streets, police used water cannons to push them back from Netanyahu's residence.

In Tel Aviv, where hundreds of thousands have taken to the streets since the beginning of the year, protesters lighted a large bonfire on a main highway.

Protesters have described the plan, which seeks to rob the Supreme Court of the power to overrule decisions made by the Israeli regime's new extremist cabinet and the Knesset, as a judicial "coup."

The changes will also enable lawmakers to override the court's rulings with a simple majority, while giving them a bigger say in the selection committee that appoints the judges.

The new protests came after on Sunday Netanyahu fired the regime's minister for military affairs, Yoav Gallant, over his criticism of the controversial judicial overhaul plan.

On Saturday, Gallant had called on the regime's far-right cabinet to halt the legislation, saying the bitter dispute it has caused was posing a threat to the occupying regime itself.

Gallant, who is a member of Netanyahu's own right-wing Likud party and used to be a staunch ally of the premier, said, "The deepening split is seeping into the military...," adding that the reforms posed "a clear, immediate, and real danger" to the regime.

The minister was apparently referring to a wave of Israeli forces, who have pledged not to heed call-ups for military reserve duty if the reforms proceed. 

Following his statement, far-right minister, Itamar Ben-Gvir called on Netanyahu to fire Gallant.

Netanyahu under fire after dismissing minister

Gallant is so far the most senior member of Netanyahu's own right-wing Likud party to say he would not support the judicial overhaul.

He insisted that the ongoing protests, which included growing numbers of the regime's military reservists, were also affecting regular forces, undermining the regime's security.

Israel's Finance Ministry officials have been also warning of the economic backlash of the regime's political crisis, as business leaders sounded the alarm for their companies' future.

The head of Israel's labor federation, which covers hundreds of thousands of public sector workers, said he was "astonished" by Gallant's removal, promising a dramatic announcement on Monday.

In a related development, Israel's consul-general in New York said he was resigning over the dismissal, saying he could not serve under Netanyahu.

Opposition leaders Yair Lapid and Benny Gantz issued a joint statement, saying the regime’s "security cannot be a card in the political game. Netanyahu crossed a red line tonight."

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