Middle East/North Africa

Netanyahu indicted after withdrawing immunity request

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was formally indicted on charges of corruption Tuesday, Reuters reported.

The indictment comes after Netanyahu withdrew a request for parliamentary immunity and a little over a month before a competitive March 3 election in Israel. 

Both Netanyahu and his primary challenger, Benny Gantz, are scheduled to visit the White House this week to discuss a Middle East peace plan

“Israeli citizens have a clear choice: a prime minister who will work for them or a self-employed prime minister,” Gantz tweeted Tuesday. “No one can run a state and simultaneously run three serious criminal cases for bribery, fraud and breach of trust.” 

The indictment also comes amid the Senate impeachment trial of President Trump, which is looking into whether the president used military aid as leverage to convince Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter. The administration has consistently said the aid was held to pressure Ukraine to crack down on corruption.

Tuesday marks the first time a sitting Israeli prime minister has been indicted on criminal charges. Netanyahu is accused of accepting $264,000 worth of bribes, which reportedly came in the form of lavish gifts such as expensive bottles of champagne and cigars. 

Netanyahu, a staunch Trump ally, has denied wrongdoing and said he would seek immunity from the charges. Netanyahu could face up to 10 years in prison if convicted of bribery and a maximum three-year term for fraud and breach of trust.

Tags Benjamin Netanyahu Benjamin Netanyahu Benny Gantz Donald Trump Government of Israel Impeachment of Donald Trump Joe Biden
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