Netanyahu Withdraws Request for Immunity From Prosecution in Corruption Cases
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday announced he was withdrawing his request for immunity from prosecution in the three corruption cases, in which he is charged with bribery, fraud and breach of trust.
The Knesset was slated to convene on Tuesday to vote on the formation of a commitee that would discuss Netanyahu's request. On Sunday, the right-wing bloc of parties backing Netanyahu's bid for premiership announced it would boycott the process, calling it tainted and politicized.
The decision means Israel's attorney general can file the indictment with the Jerusalem District Court at any time, instead of having to wait for the conclusion of immunity deliberations in the Israeli parliament. It also means Netanyahu won't be able seek protection from prosecution again in any of the three cases.
"This is in line with the persecution campaign that the 'Anything but Bibi' camp has waged," the prime minister wrote in a Facebook post. "Instead of grasping the gravity of the hour, and rise above political considerations, they continue to engage in cheap politicking, harming a decisive moment in the history of the country," Netanyahu added, referring to the expected release of U.S. President Donald Trump's Mideast peace plan.
"We will take the time later to shatter all the disproportionate claims made by my detractors," Netanayahu said. "But right now, I will not allow my political opponents to use this matter to interfere with the historic move I am leading."
The peace plan is widely expected to be in broad agreement with Netanyahu's positions on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and has been represented as a boost for his elongated political campaign for re-election.
Netanyahu made his decision public after his chief political rival, Kahol Lavan leader Benny Gantz – who met with Trump on Monday but decided to skip the release of the peace plan in order to take part in the immunity debate – was already back in Israel.