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Netanyahu withdraws immunity from prosecution request



Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday announced that he was withdrawing his request for parliamentary immunity in the three graft cases against him to stop the “dirty game” over the issue, paving the way for legal proceedings against him to go forward.

The Israeli leader made his decision public through a Facebook Post from Washington, where he is on a visit to meet US President Donald Trump before the latter announces his plan for peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

Netanyahu, Israel’s longest-serving prime minister, was indicted on counts of fraud, breach of trust and bribery in November in three separate cases. He has denied any wrongdoing.

 “During this fateful time for the people of Israel, while I am in the US on a historic mission to shape Israel’s permanent borders and ensure our security for future generations, another Knesset episode is expected to begin in the immunity circus,”
Netanyahu wrote.

 “Since I was not given due process, because all the rules of the Knesset (Israeli Parliament) were trampled on, and since the results of the procedure were pre-dictated without proper discussion, I decided not to allow this dirty game to continue,” the 70-year-old leader stressed.

The indictment is now expected to be filed with the Jerusalem District Court by the end of the week, less than five weeks before the unprecedented third round of parliamentary elections within a year slated for March 2.   

The date for Tuesday’s Knesset discussion was set before Netanyahu announced that he would travel to Washington for the unveiling of Trump’s long awaited peace plan. The timing of the announcement of the peace plan has been criticised by many analysts in Israel as an attempt to rescue Netanyahu from the immunity proceedings.

The Israeli Prime Minister’s main political rival, Benny Gantz of the Blue and White party, who also met Trump in Washington on Monday said that Netanyahu cannot run the country while standing trial in the three cases
against him.

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