Now, Israeli PM Netanyahu faces corruption charges, refuses to quit

Israelis protest against corruption urging Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to resign in Tel Aviv

Israelis protest against corruption urging Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to resign in Tel Aviv

Israeli police have recommended that Benjamin Netanyahu be indicted on bribery and breach of trust charges in two corruption cases.

Earlier this week, Netanyahu told Likud lawmakers in a closed-door meeting that the issue of applying Israeli sovereignty to the West Bank had been discussed with USA officials.

"Under both global and Israeli law, the post of the accused does not relieve him or her from responsibility for crimes committed, and does not mitigate punishment", the observer said.

But on Wednesday evening, the official called the whole incident "a misunderstanding" and "water under the bridge", saying it will not have any diplomatic influence.

A decision on whether to press formal charges against him now rests with the attorney general´s office, which is expected to take weeks or months to decide how to proceed.

"We were guided exclusively by professional considerations", he said.

"This isn't the first time that Prime Minister Netanyahu is being questioned for corruption and bribery", the analyst said.

Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon, who heads the centrist Kulanu party, said he would do the same.

He said Netanyahu should "vacate his post" for the good of the country. "Maybe individuals will defect", Diskin said.

One of the cases against Netanyahu, known as Case 1000, alleged the "committing of crimes of bribery, fraud and breach of trust" by the prime minister.

Most of the 495 respondents representing a cross-section of Israel's Hebrew-speaking voters - 44 percent - said they did not think the investigation was a deliberate attempt to topple Netanyahu.

"We don't see for the time being any sign of defectors from the coalition".

Hebrew University political scientist Abraham Diskin, in a conference call with The Israel Project, said that the recommendations submitted by the Israeli Police do not necessarily mean that Netanyahu will even be indicted, and even if the Attorney General chooses to indict, the Supreme Court would still have the final say in the matter as per Israeli law.

The article also said that Israeli businessman and Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan had asked Netanyahu to promote a free-trade zone between Israel and Jordan, a project that has not materialized yet.

Shortly after the police made their recommendations public, Lapid issued a statement calling on Netanyahu to resign.

Investigation 2000, the second case, involves Netanyahu allegedly discussing a deal with Yediot Ahoronot publisher Arnon Mozes in which Mozes would have provided more positive coverage of Netanyahu if he supported a bill that would have hampered the circulation of Yediot Ahoronot's competitor, Israel Hayom.

Glick then pointed out that Israeli police have investigated Netanyahu and his wife multiple times during his stints as prime minister and none of them have ever produced anything substantial.

Navit Negev and Iris Niv-Sabag, lawyers for Mozes, said in a statement: "Noni Mozes has strong legal arguments in his favour, and we believe that after an additional examination of the evidence by the prosecutor's office the case against him will be closed and it will become clear that he committed no crime".

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