Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Wednesday, February 26th, 2020

Netanyahu Drops Request for Immunity on Corruption Charges

Netanyahu Drops Request for Immunity on Corruption Charges

JERUSALEM - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said he is withdrawing his bid for parliamentary immunity from prosecution on corruption charges, paving the way for a trial to begin.
Israel's longest-serving prime minister issued a statement on Facebook on Tuesday saying the immunity proceedings in parliament would have been a "circus" and he did not want to take part in a "dirty game".
"I informed the Knesset speaker that I am withdrawing my immunity request," Netanyahu said.
Israel's parliament, the Knesset, had been set to convene to discuss the formation of a committee to debate the prime minister's request for immunity from prosecution on Tuesday.
The Knesset was widely expected to reject the request, which would have dealt Netanyahu a blow ahead of a parliamentary election scheduled for March 2 - the third national vote in less than a year. Netanyahu's Likud party was planning to boycott the session.
His retraction paves the way for legal proceedings against him to go forward. A trial could take months or years and the 70-year-old leader is under no legal obligation to resign.
Netanyahu was indicted in November on charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust over allegations that he granted state favours worth hundreds of millions of dollars to Israeli media barons in return for gifts and favourable coverage.
He denies any wrongdoing, saying he is the victim of a witch-hunt by the media and the political left aiming to remove a popular right-wing leader.
The prime minister's political opponents made his legal troubles a focus of their campaigns in the previous two elections last year. (Aljazeera)