Netanyahu Asks Israeli Parliament for Immunity

January 2, 2020

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday asked parliament for immunity, weeks after the embattled premier was indicted on a range of corruption charges.

Netanyahu, the Zionist entity’s longest-serving premier, is fighting for his political survival on two fronts — the corruption allegations and stiff opposition from a new centrist party.

The immunity request is expected to delay the start of court proceedings for months, as lawmakers are not due to vote on the matter until after March 2 elections.

The request is “in line with the law… (and) with the goal of continuing to serve you, for the future of Israel,” Netanyahu told reporters in Al-Quds (Jerusalem).

His spokesman Ofer Golan later confirmed the request had been submitted to the speaker of Israeli parliament, the Knesset.

Netanyahu was charged by the attorney general in November with bribery, fraud and breach of trust in three separate corruption cases.

The leader of the right-wing Likud party denies the allegations and accuses prosecutors and the media of a witch hunt.

Reacting to the premier’s announcement, his rival Benny Gantz, the leader of the centrist Blue and White party, said “Netanyahu knows that he is guilty.”

Gantz said his own party will do everything it can to “prevent immunity”.

“In Israel, nobody is above the law”.

A sitting prime minister is only required to step down once convicted and after all avenues of appeal have been exhausted.

Source: AFP

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