The day after his trial begins on corruption charges, Netanyahu refuses to reach a judicial deal on his accusations
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu refused, on Monday, to reach a judicial agreement on charges against him with corruption.
This came in a statement made by Netanyahu to the Israeli channel “20”, the day after the start of his trial procedures on corruption charges, most notably bribery, fraud and breach of trust.
Netanyahu said, days after he began his term as head of a national unity government, that he would not try to reach a judicial deal with the Israeli Public Prosecution.
He added, “I did not come to the court to deal and trade, but to reveal the truth,” according to the same source.
On Sunday, the Israeli Central Court in East Jerusalem began to consider a list of accusations against Netanyahu, which the latter had attended, along with his defense team.
“Lawyers, police officers and journalists from the left (he did not name them) decided to weave me files of delirium, thinking they would surrender,” Netanyahu told reporters Sunday.
The Israeli court decided to set a date to resume the trial on July 19.
Netanyahu, 70, is the first Israeli prime minister to face trial while in office, and he denies accusations of bribery, fraud and breach of trust.
Last January, the Israeli government’s attorney general, Avichai Mandelblit, filed an indictment with the Central District Court in East Jerusalem against Netanyahu, after the latter failed to obtain parliamentary immunity.
According to Israeli Channel 12, it is expected that the trial of Netanyahu will take at least two years and possibly three years, as important diplomatic visits that were scheduled for the pre-determined trial sessions can be taken into account, for example.
A week ago, the Israeli Knesset gave confidence to the new coalition government led by Netanyahu, and its members were sworn in.
The new government is a coalition between the right-wing bloc led by the Likud party led by Netanyahu, and the Blue and White party headed by Defense Minister Benny Gantz, both of whom rotate to head it.
On his part, former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert suggested that Benjamin Netanyahu, after his trial on corruption charges, would go after him.
When asked in an interview with Army Radio, if the current Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu is going to prison, Olmert replied, “I think he will go to prison for many years”.
He added that “Netanyahu is a criminal, a villain, a thief, and a criminal, and he will be sentenced to a long prison term”.
In another interview with the website of the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth, on Monday, Olmert likened Netanyahu to the “Godfather”, who heads a criminal organization.
“I saw it, and I felt it was a scene from The Godfather, by Francis Ford Coppola,” Olmert said, referring to Netanyahu’s speech before the trial on Sunday.
“He is the head of a criminal organization surrounded by people who follow orders,” he added, referring to a number of ministers and deputies from the Likud party surrounding Netanyahu before the trial.
He continued: “What happened on Sunday, was a riot carried out by criminals headed by the Israeli Prime Minister, in my opinion, the strong person can speak calmly, the person feels guilty, the more threatening he appears in his words”.
Netanyahu accused Israeli police, prosecutors, left and media officials of fabricating charges against him in an attempt to overthrow the right’s ruling.
Olmert is the first Israeli prime minister to serve a two-year prison sentence after being accused of corruption, but Netanyahu is the first Israeli prime minister to be tried on corruption charges while in office.