The question that must be asked is not why Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu withdrew his request for immunity on Tuesday, but rather why he submitted it in the first place.
From the moment Avigdor Lieberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu party jumped on the opponents’ bandwagon, there was a solid majority of 65 Knesset members against immunity. It was high time to abandon the idea, and yet Netanyahu still waited it out, paying a price for the campaign he continued in the Knesset and the media.
Did his lawyers advise him to insist uselessly on immunity, against the advice of ministers Yariv Levin, Zeev Elkin, Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein and others? Was this a perpetuation of a delay tactic by any means, kosher or not, to avoid the inevitable end of facing the judges? If so, these lawyers aren’t worth their price (and the delays). If the source of the pressure and the obsession with trolling the system and waging a campaign of legal and political bloodletting came from the Prime Minister’s Residence, then the picture is a little clearer.
Perhaps the original idea was to exhaust the strategy he has followed since the start of the investigations, even with an approaching third election – in other words, to inflame his political base’s war with a “deep state” conspiracy of trumped up charges, a coup d’état and all the rest of the nonsense. Now that he’s placing a dramatic change of direction on the table in the guise of a diplomatic issue called the deal of the century, he needs to remove all the obstacles in his way.
Whatever the case may be, we may now attribute to Prime Minister and Defendant Netanyahu the slogan made famous by Winston Churchill about Britain and France during World War II, only in reverse: He chose war, and he will get shame, too.
And while we’re on the topic of Netanyahu’s attorneys, on Tuesday morning attorneys Yossi Ashkenazi and Amit Hadad send Edelstein a letter comprised of just three lines, informing him they are withdrawing their honorable client’s request for immunity.
With a step that cannot be viewed as anything short of chutzpah and rudeness, esteemed colleagues Ashkenazi and Hadad referred the Knesset speaker to the prime minister’s Facebook page, where he could read the rationale behind the decision. One wouldn’t even write something like this to a colleague, much less an official, especially one who has done his best to save Netanyahu the embarrassment of a parliamentary process, even on this day, with the symbolic step of staying away from the plenum which he is supposed to conduct even when it’s uncomfortable.