Israeli Knesset agreed to form a committee to decide on granting Netanyahu immunity

UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY NEWS)

The Israeli parliament on Monday approved the formation of a committee tasked with deciding to grant Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu immunity from corruption charges against him.

Netanyahu asked the parliament earlier this month to grant him immunity, in a move that was expected to take place after the legislative elections scheduled for the second of next March.

And if the committee to be formed rejects the immunity request, this will speed up the judicial procedures against Netanyahu, the candidate for the upcoming elections, which would confuse his path toward winning a new term.

The “Arrangements Committee” responsible for forming the rest of the committees in the Knesset, gave its approval to the formation of the “Parliament Committee”, which decides on the request for immunity.

Sixteen members of the Arrangements Committee voted in favor of forming the committee, as opposed to the opposition of one member. He did not specify the date at which the committee will meet.

Netanyahu’s opponents, led by the centrist coalition leader “Blue and White” Benny Gantz, asked parliament to decide on the immunity request before the elections, not after them.

On Sunday, the legal adviser to the Israeli parliament supported the opposition’s request to form a committee to decide the prime minister’s request for immunity by facing the corruption charges against him.

Knesset Legal Adviser Eyal Yenon said that Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein, Netanyahu’s close friend and Likud member, “cannot stand in his way.”

Following Yenon’s remarks, Gantz asked Avi Nissenkorn, head of the Arrangements Committee, to select deputies from all parties “as soon as possible” to consult with each other on Netanyahu’s request for immunity.

Edelstein on Sunday rejected Yennon’s opinion, warning that the formation of the committee would be a “grave mistake.”

“We have only weeks before the elections, everyone knows how the parliament committee will turn into a forest at this time,” he said.

On November 21, Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit accused Netanyahu of bribery, fraud and breach of trust in three separate corruption cases that the prime minister denies, accusing prosecutors and the media of launching a campaign to defame him.

Netanyahu is seeking to stay in office at the head of the government he has held for nearly 14 years.

Israeli law stipulates that the prime minister is not obliged to step down unless he is convicted and after all the opportunities for appeal have entered into force.

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