Netanyahu pulled his request for immunity only hours before the Knesset was to vote on the matter.
By World Israel News Staff
On Tuesday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu withdrew his request for parliamentary immunity from prosecution on corruption charges.
His announcement came only hours before the Knesset was to vote on whether to establish a committee that would decide on his immunity request. Although the right-wing and religious parties intended to boycott the vote in the hopes of stripping it of legitimacy, it was expected to pass as 65 Knesset members had already announced their intention to vote in favor.
Netanyahu requested immunity on January 1. It appears his strategy had been to push off any discussion of immunity until after the March 2 elections but the effort failed when Speaker of the Knesset Yuli Edelstein, despite being a senior Likud member, decided to allow the vote to form the committee to proceed.
“Even though I disagree with the position of the Knesset legal adviser, I believe that, in order to maintain trust in the institution of Knesset speaker by all the factions, it is important to accept it,” he said.
Netanyahu tweeted a link on Tuesday to a Facebook post in which he wrote:
“In this fateful hour for the people of Israel, when I am in the United States on a historic mission to craft the permanent borders of Israel and ensure our security for decades to come, the Knesset is expected to open another exhibition in the circus of removing immunity,” Netanyahu wrote.
“This is the continued personal obsessive pursuit by the ‘just not Bibi’ people. Instead of understanding the greatness of the hour and transcending political considerations, they continue to engage in cheap politics that damages a crucial moment in the history of the state.
“Since I was not given due process, because all the rules of Knesset work were trampled underfoot, and since the results of the procedure were pre-determined without proper discussion, I decided not to let this dirty game continue.
“A few minutes ago, I informed the Speaker of the Knesset that I was withdrawing the request for immunity. Later on, we will shatter all the disproportionate claims made by the veterans in the matter. But now, I will not allow my political opponents to use this matter to interfere with the historic move that I am leading.
“As I have done all my life, I will continue to invest all for the future of our country and for you, the citizens of Israel,” Netanyahu wrote.