The Latest on Netanyahu’s Corruption

Prof. As’ad Abdul Rahman

It is ironical that following the adoption of the UN General Assembly a resolution by a majority rejecting any actions to change the situation in Jerusalem, that Israel’s extremist Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused the world body of being a “house of lies”! According to increasing number of journalists, writers and politicians, Netanyahu is, in fact, the one who lives so to speak in a “house of lies” with the accelerated developments of corruption charges against him. In this context, both the community and the political echelon in Israel are waiting for investigations to be completed by the Israeli police and the Attorney General’s recommendation to charge him with an official indictment after being interrogated 7 times. While many prominent Israeli politicians accuse him of lying and demand his resignation, Netanyahu insists on ignoring such developments and has commented on the issue of an indictment against him recently, saying “all police recommendations will be trashed”, words that aroused resentment of many Israelis.

Thousands of Israelis have been taking to the streets every Saturday evening for the fourth week in a row, (recently joined by Israeli rightists) to protest corruption in the government and demand the resignation of Netanyahu who branded the last protest as a “march of shame”!! Protesters chanted slogans calling on him and other members of his cabinet to resign. Former “defence” minister Moshe Ya’alon, emerging as a rival to the prime minister, called for a rally where he announced that “corruption is a greater danger than the Iranian threat, Hizbollah and Hamas. Netanyahu acts as a fugitive setting fire to all of which we lost our children for”. In a remarkable development, the new coalition chairman David Amsalem said that “Netanyahu should step down if indicted on corruption charges”. Former Israeli police commissioner Assaf Heftez also said that “Netanyahu did the worst thing by shaking the public trust in police. He should have resigned after admitting to having received gifts”. Former politician Uzi Baram wrote saying that “the Israeli public got as a result of the investigations with Netanyahu a president worse than Donald Trump who no one can tell as to whether his statements are a result of thinking or a fancy. Netanyahu realizes that he is in trouble with the public and tries to turn the wheel back. But it is too late for no one can believe any word he says”.

After the Knesset passed the first reading of the “Recommendations Law” which prevents police from making recommendations at the end of an investigation, which retroactively applies to the investigations with Netanyahu, Yossi Verter, the internal affairs analyst at Haaretz wrote saying that “in one of the most shameful moments of the Knesset (the Israeli parliament), the ruling coalition has contributed support to the prime suspect, Netanyahu, through a law that prohibits the publication of the conclusions of the police investigation in the files 1000 and 2000.We have never witnessed such a decline, The law was specially tailored to and coordinated with the head of government involved in criminal offenses. But as long as the coalition adheres to the rule, every outrageous act is a legal choice, and every fact is a lie, and every lie is the truth”. Commenting on “the aforementioned legislation prohibiting the investigation of a resident prime minister”, Yuval Diskin, former director of Israel’s Security Agency said “the legislation is corrupt, justifies the exit of the public to the streets if it does not stop. Recent developments in the Knesset and in the coalition confirm that corruption has deep roots in our legislative council.” He continued:”We have a good reason to be afraid of moral values rotting that leads us, which infiltrates the Knesset and the governance institutions and undermines our future and the foundations of our existence. If we allow corruption to take its place in the Knesset, we will be defeated, spoiled and mainly rotten”.

“The problem is not Netanyahu”, wrote Nahum Barnea under the title: “Israel Rolls down into a Banana Republic”. He said “the problem is the other 119 members of the Knesset, who have to know that they are rolling the state on a smooth slope, on the way to a banana republic, (the most accurate, banana kingdom)”!!! Those who call to keep the Likud party in power are also calling for Netanyahu’s resignation. As to the importance of Netanyahu to his party, Nadav Haetzni wrote saying that “anyone elected in Netanyahu’s place – from Katz to Saar, from Arad to Levin – would be better for the Likud and for the state in the present circumstances. More, Netanyahu has become a heavy burden on the Likud and the national camp, not to mention the dangers of desperate steps he will take in an attempt to save his skin”

Although Netanyahu knows that no clear opponent of the opposition is threatening him on the political scene at present, he is certainly more concerned than ever before, amid indications that the police will soon end the investigation and recommend that he be brought to trial as the weekly popular movement calls for his dismissal. Netanyahu is looking for a runaway that keeps him in the post of prime minister until after the parliamentary elections which he may have to call soon if he feels that these elections will save him and return him to the premiership!