Israeli prosecutor files indictment after Netayahu withdraws immunity request

Israeli prosecutor files indictment after Netayahu withdraws immunity request
Immediately after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu retracted his request for immunity from corruption charges brought against him, Israel's attorney general submitted a 78-page indictment to Jerusalem District Court.
3 min read
28 January, 2020
Netanyahu is in Washington, as Trump unviels his "deal of the century" [Getty]
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is set to be formally indicted on three corruption charges, hours after he withdrew his immunity request on Tuesday.

Avichai Mandelbit, the country's attorney general, filed the 78-page indictment to the Jerusalem District Court, which relate to three seperate charges of corruption, bribery and breach of trust, respectively. 

The charges mean that Netanyahu will be the first serving Israeli prime minister to face trial in the country's history.

The Knesset had been scheduled to vote on Tuesday morning on the formation a committee to consider the Netanyahu's immunity request.

The country's longest-serving prime minister denied all wrongdoing and labelled the investigations an "attempted coup", allegedly launched by the Israeli left and media.

The Knesset was widely expected to reject the prime minister's request on Tuesday's session, a factor analysts see as driving Netanyahu's decision not to proceed, according to CNN. 

Earlier on Sunday, a right-wing bloc of parties backing Netanyahu's fight in Israel's third election in less than a year, announced a boycott the Knesset proccess, where opposing parties command a majority.

Netanyahu, was in Washington ahead of US President Donald Trump long anticipated Middle East so-called Deal of the Century, he said he "decided not not let this dirty game continue".

Read more: Israeli MPs get backing to discuss Netanyahu immunity

"In this fateful hour for the people of Israel, when I am in the United States on a historic mission to design the permanent borders of Israel and ensure our security for decades to come, the Knesset is expected to start another spectacle in the circus of removing immunity," he said.

Trump - who has himself been impeached in the US House of Representatives and is on trial in the Senate on charges of abuse power and obstruction of Congress - offered Netanyahu a highly favourable Israeli-Palestine "peace deal", which has been rejected outright by the Palestinians due to its bias. 

Benny Gantz, Netanyahu's chief rival for the premiership, welcomed the fact that the prosecution would go ahead before Israelis headed to the polls.

"Netanyahu goes to trial - we must move forward."

"Israel's citizens have a clear choice: a prime minister who will work for them or a prime minister who is preoccupied with himself. No-one can run a state and at the same time manage three serious criminal cases for bribery, fraud and breach of trust," he said.

Yet a trial date has not been set, in a process which could take years.

Furthermore, under Israeli law, Netanyahu is only obliged if he is convicted and that conviction is upheld through an appeals process. 

Netanyahu charges pertain to gifts accepted from wealthy businessmen, in addition to granting favours to secure more favourable press coverage

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