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Israeli Prosecutors Press Towards Deal Ensuring Netanyahu’s Imprisonment

Israeli Prosecutors Press Towards Deal Ensuring Netanyahu’s Imprisonment

Sunday, 22 September, 2019 - 10:45
Laborers work on hanging up a Likud election campaign banner depicting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with his party candidates (File Photo: Reuters)
Ramallah- Kifah Zboun

Prosecutors have told the defense lawyer of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that if he is charged, the prosecution will oppose the plea bargain unless it includes an actual prison sentence.

Sources familiar with the case said it currently isn’t possible to reduce or drop the charges against the prime minister.

A televised report by Channel 13 claimed that Netanyahu was looking into the possibility of arranging a deal that would see him receive a pardon from President Reuven Rivlin in a series of corruption cases if he agrees to step down as premier.

Netanyahu dispatched an envoy to the President to see whether Rivlin would consider granting clemency to the prime minister if he left office and the political scene.

The reporter added that Netanyahu is not sure Rivlin agreed to his request so far.

Having failed to achieve a clear electoral victory for the second time in six months, it seems that Netanyahu now believes he can no longer stay in power or at least he should share it.

However, Netanyahu's spokesmen denied that he was seeking a deal adding that the prime minister's lawyer would attend the hearing as planned and submit their appeals.

Netanyahu faces the possibility of indicting him in several cases, including case 1000 which involves alleged illegal gifts, case 2000 concerning conversations with Yedioth Ahronoth publisher Arnon Mozes on favorable coverage in exchange for reducing competition, and case 4000 or the Bezeq-Walla case, in which there was an alleged deal to receive favorable media coverage in exchange for regulatory and financial benefits.

Netanyahu was betting on a clear electoral victory to ensure that he could avoid trial and is still seeking a way to stay in power.

He called on his rival Benny Gantz to form a unity government, but Gantz responded that he would form the government alone.

President Rivlin will begin consultations with the newly-elected Knesset factions on Sunday in order to decide who to task with forming a government after last week’s election.

A statement by Rivlin's office said he would begin a round of consultations with all parties that entered the Knesset and would then continue talks with candidates recommended to form a government.

At the end of those two-day consultations, the President will make his decision and select one of the candidates for the post of Prime Minister.

In his recent analysis, founding editor of The Times of Israel, David Horovitz noted that Netanyahu is on the defensive, compelled to cancel his trip to the UN in New York next week, and thus forced, ignominiously, to cancel a planned meeting with US President Donald Trump.

Trump revealed Wednesday he hadn’t spoken with Netanyahu since the elections and, anyhow, “our relationship is with Israel.” But, for now, his party is standing by him.

While Gantz is hoping Likud will start to crack, Netanyahu is scouring for options, playing for time, with the advantage of being prime minister.

“This is the Middle East, where external affairs can intrude at any moment on the plots and schemes of politicians; where external affairs can also be encouraged to intrude.”

Horovitz indicated the Israeli electorate has had its say, and the one man who could single-handedly break the deadlock, Avigdor Liberman, is insisting on the unity partnership both of the big party leaders claim to want but not really with each other.

Israeli president will begin Sunday the sensitive task of trying to convert the will of the people, the diverse will of the people, into a viable leadership for Israel, to cajole our elected representatives into some kind of stable government, he concluded.

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