Netanyahu says drops request for immunity from graft charges
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Tuesday that he had dropped his request for parliamentary immunity from corruption charges.
The announcement came hours before he was to meet in the White House with President Donald Trump for the unveiling of a long-awaited US peace plan.
"A few minutes ago I informed the Knesset speaker that I'm withdrawing the immunity request," he said on Facebook. "I won't let my political opponents use this issue to disturb the historic move I'm leading."
The Knesset, Israel's parliament had been scheduled to vote on Tuesday morning to convene a committee to debate and eventually rule on the request.
Netanyahu's opponents had already mustered a majority in the legislature to deny him immunity.
His decision Tuesday opens the way for Israel's attorney general to go ahead and set a date for the premier's trial on charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust.
On March 2, Netanyahu is seeking reelection in a general election which pits his right-wing Likud against the centrist Blue and White party in what is likely to be a close contest.
"In this fateful moment for the people of Israel, while I'm in the US on a historic mission to form Israel's final borders and ensure our security for future generations, another immunity circus show is due to open at the Knesset," Netanyahu said.
Netanyahu denies the charges against him and says he is the victim of a politically motivated witch-hunt.
© 2020 AFP