Israel’s Attorney General has submitted the corruption indictments against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the president of the Israeli parliament (Knesset) on Monday.
In a letter to the Knesset Speaker, Avichai Mandelblit indicates that the 30-day period during which Netanyahu can ask the Knesset for immunity meaning that the parliament has until January 1 to decide whether or not to grant Netanyahu immunity.
It is unclear how the Knesset will proceed, as the law states that immunity decisions must be made by the Knesset Committee, which has yet to be convened since the failure of
Netanyahu and his rival Benny Gantz to form a coalition after the elections of 17 September. The prime minister has been accused of fraud, bribery and abuse of power in three cases of corruption, called 4000, 2000 and 1000. It marks the first time in Israeli history a sitting prime minister has been charged with a crime.
In his letter to Edelstein, Mandelblit wrote that Netanyahu’s trial will take place at Jerusalem District Court and that a date has been set for the proceedings but has not yet made public. Along with his letter, Mandelblit published today the complete list of 333 witnesses and their affiliation with the companies or government agencies involved in the cases.
The leaders of the political factions of the Israeli Parliament are facing a stalemate in the negotiations to form a coalition government after legislative elections last September 17, the second to be held within six months. Most of the functions of the Knesset are paralyzed, which makes it unlikely that a request for immunity from Netanyahu will be approved. Israeli law dictates that a prime minister must resign from office if convicted, but there is less clarity concerning a pending trial.
Opposing demonstrations – one in support of the Prime Minister and another demanding his resignation – attracted thousands of people in Tel Aviv on Monday.