Asharq Al-awsat English Middle-east and International News and Opinion from Asharq Al-awsat Newspaper

A Judicial Attempt to Disqualify Netanyahu as Prime Minister

A Judicial Attempt to Disqualify Netanyahu as Prime Minister

Saturday, 23 November, 2019 - 10:30
Supporters of the Israeli Labor party at a rally against Benjamin Netanyahu outside the Likud party HQ in Tel Aviv. Photograph: Jack Guez/AFP via Getty Images

Israeli Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit announced Thursday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will be charged with criminal wrongdoing in three separate cases that include bribery.

The ruling Israeli right did not accept the decision of the Attorney General to issue serious indictments against Netanyahu, who said he was the victim of an attempted coup.

Laying out the charges in a press conference on Thursday evening, Mendelblit said he made the decision to indict the prime minister "with a heavy heart, but wholeheartedly," stressing it was not an issue of left-wing or right-wing politics and that enforcing the law was not a matter of choice.

The main opposition Blue and White party lawyers said that while Netanyahu was not legally required to step down as prime minister, he should immediately do so.

Benny Gantz, head of the opposition coalition, urged Netanyahu to act as a political leader in a developed country and resign and not act as the head of a backward state that clings to power by force.

In a petition, the Blue and White party emphasized that "according to the High Court of Justice, a minister against whom an indictment is filed, isn't able to continue holding his post, and therefore you [Netanyahu] are obligated to immediately leave your various ministerial positions in the government."

In response to Mandelblit's announcement that he is indicting Netanyahu for bribery, fraud, and breach of trust, Labor-Gesher chairman Amir Peretz announced that he has prepared a legal team to petition the Supreme Court to rule Netanyahu is unfit to serve in office.

"The indictments against Netanyahu are the reason that a government hasn't been established in Israel," Peretz stated.

"In a democracy, we cannot reconcile ourselves to a prime minister facing indictments. The political crisis in Israel is only due to the indictments. If we succeed in preventing Netanyahu from clinging to the position of prime minister, we'll prevent third elections within a year."

Editor Picks