Netanyahu Withdraws Bid for Immunity From Corruption Prosecution

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday withdrew his bid for parliamentary immunity from prosecution on corruption charges, making a criminal trial against him a near certainty.

Israel’s longest-serving prime minister said in a statement that an immunity debate in parliament would have been a “circus” and he did not want to take part in this “dirty game”.

Netanyahu, who denies all wrongdoing, said: “I informed the Knesset speaker that I am withdrawing my immunity request.”

The legal proceedings now move toward trial, though a timeline remains unclear and it could take months or years.

The veteran right-winger, who faces a national election in March, is under no legal obligation to resign.

Netanyahu, 70, is now in Washington for meetings with U.S. President Donald Trump ahead of the release of Trump’s long-delayed Israel-Palestinian peace plan, which the Palestinians have already rejected.

Netanyahu’s main rival, centrist former general Benny Gantz, made Netanyahu’s legal troubles a centerpiece of his campaigns in two Israeli elections last year.

Gantz made a brief trip to Washington to discuss the peace plan with Trump, and had rushed back to Israel expecting to lead the parliament debate against granting Netanyahu immunity.

“Netanyahu is going to trial – we have to move on,” Gantz said after Netanyahu pulled his immunity request.

“The citizens of Israel have a clear choice: a prime minister who works for them or a prime minister busy with himself. No one can manage the country and in parallel manage three serious criminal cases,” Gantz said in a tweet.

Israelis attorney general Avichai Mandelblit indicted Netanyahu on corruption charges – the first of their kind against a serving Israeli prime minister – last November following a long-running investigation. The charges included bribery, breach of trust and fraud.

Netanyahu is suspected of wrongfully accepting $264,000 worth of gifts, which prosecutors said included cigars and champagne, from tycoons and of dispensing regulatory favors in alleged bids for improved coverage by a popular news website.Netanyahu could face up to 10 years in prison if convicted of bribery and a maximum three-year term for fraud and breach of trust.

(Reporting by Stephen Farrell and Ari Rabinovitch. Editing by Angus MacSwan)

Responses

  1. “We will when you call your reps and tell them to investigate corruption involving Joe Biden and Ukraine.” joey

    I am confused.

    What will an investigation into the Biden’s find? Nothing related to Kind Donald The Loser’s impeachment.

    Did Joke Biden do anything wrong in Ukraine? Of course not, but that won’t stop you confused people from relentlessly making that argument. “But just look at what he said on that video?” And? You are confused by what actually happened then and you have NO INTEREST in learning. Stop wasting your time on that argument. It doesn’t work.

    Did Hunter Biden do anything wrong? Not according to our accepted, expected corrupt ways. No, he should NOT have accepted that board membership, but there was nothing illegal in what he did there. Not that it won’t stop you confused people from relentlessly making that argument. If this administration pursues Hunter Biden for his corruption, then they have to pursue ALL of the corruption in this current administration, too. Deal?

    Want to have them called to testify. Have at it and see where it gets you – nowhere.

    #outnow “refusefascism.org”

  2. Our Democratic leaders need to nail King Donald The Loser for profiteering from his presidency. The recent raising of prices at Doral forcing the government (us!) to pay his inflated prices at one of his properties is outrageous. (See HuffPost).

    You “conservatives” should be calling your Reps over this!

    1. We will when you call your reps and tell them to investigate corruption involving Joe Biden and Ukraine.

  3. This is on of the most corrupt men in the world. He needs to be locked up

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