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Israeli parliament authorises Netanyahu to 'declare war' without cabinet backing

The new law allows Netanyahu to declare war without the security cabinet's approval [Getty]

Date of publication: 1 May, 2018

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Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu now how the power to authorise military intervention without cabinet approval.

The Israeli Knesset has voted in favour of a request by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to grant him authority to declare war or order a major military operation without the backing of a security cabinet.

Sixty-two Knesset members on Monday voted the proposal into law against 41 MPs who opposed it, claiming the new bill would effectively remove all oversight of the prime minister's actions.

The new law stipulates that in "extreme" circumstances the Israeli prime minister can authorise military operations with only the backing of the defence minister.

Before the amendment the whole cabinet was required to vote on such a move.

Israel's Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee and the Constitution, Law and Justice Committee initially voted against the proposal, but it was later approved by the Knesset during a second and third reading, Haaretz reported.

Opposition lawmakers said the wording of the new legislation would effectively side-line MKs who opposed military action from voting.

Reports of the new amendment being passed came shortly after a theatrical display by Netanyahu on live television claiming "proof" of a secret Iranian nuclear weapons programme.

The Israeli premier said tens of thousands of documents recently recovered by Israeli intelligence operatives in Tehran proved Iran had a secret nuclear weapons programme that it could put into action at any time.

Netanyahu's elaborate presentation live on television came ahead of a crucial decision by US President Donald Trump by 12 May on whether to withdraw from the nuclear agreement between world powers and Iran.

The presentation - which included props, video and slides - immediately led to accusations from some that the White House and Netanyahu coordinated the stunt, as Trump considers whether to pull out of the nuclear deal he has harshly criticised.

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