Israel Attorney-General accuses Netanyahu of breaking the law – Middle East Monitor


Israel’s Attorney General has accused Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of breaking the law by ignoring a conflict of interest because of his ongoing corruption trial and direct involvement with his government’s judicial reform plan, Reuters reports.

In the face of protests against the proposed changes, which would cut his critics to the Supreme Court, Netanyahu said on Thursday that he was putting aside all other considerations and would do “whatever it takes ” to find a solution.

The letter from the Attorney General, Gali Baharav-Miara, added to those in front of the plans, which left a deep split in Israeli society, bringing thousands of protestors to the streets, scaring the establishment of business and opening cracks in the right. -wing coalition itself.

Israel Channel 12 After Netanyahu’s speech, about 200 elite reserve air force pilots reported that they were suspending their service on Friday because of the proposed legislation, raising protests from within the military.

After media reports that Defense Minister Yoav Gallant would call for the plans to be halted on Thursday, Netanyahu called his Defense Chief who outlined the impact the overhaul could have on the armed forces , where an increasing number of reserves have declared that they will not serve. .

Netanyahu and the judicial reform – Cartoon [Sabaaneh/Middle East Monitor]

However, Netanyahu, who is on trial on corruption charges he denies, pressed ahead, declaring in a televised address on Thursday that he would try to pass a key part of the package next week.

On Thursday, the Knesset amended a law to limit the circumstances in which a prime minister can be removed from office, but Baharav-Miara said Netanyahu had to stay out of the judicial reform package, which was handled by the Justice Minister. Yariv Levin.

“The legal situation is clear: you must refrain from any involvement in initiatives to change the judiciary,” she wrote in the letter that was made public by the Ministry of Justice’s spokesperson’s office. “Your statement last night and any action you take in violation of this matter is illegal.”

The letter followed Baharav-Miara’s earlier warnings that Netanyahu must stay away from his coalition’s push for judicial reform because of what she considered a conflict of interest arising from his trials.

In a message circulated by the ruling Likud party, an unnamed source close to Netanyahu denied that the prime minister violated any conflict of interest laws or agreements in his statement and said his trial was of no consequence.

READ: Netanyahu’s coup explained the Israeli judges

The source said that it was the duty of the Premier to try to reach a broad consensus at a time of national crisis which had implications for the country, at home and abroad.

The far-right Minister of National Security, Itamar Ben-Gvir, accused the Attorney General, appointed by the former centre-right government, of the de facto opposition.

“If Ms. Baharav-Miara wants to make decisions on behalf of an elected official, you are welcome to form a party and run for Parliament,” he wrote on Twitter.

Following the Attorney General’s letter, the watchdog group, the Movement for Quality Government in Israel, said it would file a contempt of court motion and demand that Netanyahu be subject to sanctions as set forth by law, including heavy fines and imprisonment.

Netanyahu’s religious-nationalist coalition is seeking changes to the judiciary that would give the government control over choosing judges and limit the Supreme Court’s power to strike down laws.

Proponents say the plan would change the Supreme Court and restore balance between the branches of government. Critics say it would weaken the courts, threaten civil liberties and hurt the economy.

The proposed plan has sparked weeks of demonstrations across the country and drawn concern among the country’s Western allies.

The protests followed Netanyahu to London on Friday, where he met with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.

Hundreds of people stood outside 10 Downing Street waving Israeli flags and beating drums. Some could be heard shouting “Netanyahu go to jail, you can’t speak for Israel.”

Broadcasters had hoped to be able to film the start of the meeting between Sunak and Netanyahu, but that appears to have been cancelled.

READ: Hundreds gather in London to protest Netanyahu’s visit to the UK

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