US President Donald Trump (left) welcomes Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to the White House on January 27, a day before the administration’s scheduled unveiling of a new Israeli-Palestinian peace plan. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Israel’s A-G Formally Indicts Netanyahu, Paving Way for Trial

Israeli Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit filed criminal indictments against Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu with the Jerusalem District Court on Tuesday, meaning the court can now announce a trial date. Mandelblit revealed his plan to indict Netanyahu in three separate cases of alleged corruption last November but was enjoined from officially filing the indictments due to the prime minister’s request that the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, grant him immunity, something the prime minister’s critics called a delaying tactic. Netanyahu pulled that request earlier on Tuesday. There are two possible reasons why. One was to avoid the spectacle of a political defeat, with most lawmakers being against immunity less than five weeks shy of a new election. On the other hand, it is possible that Netanyahu, currently in Washington for the unveiling of a new US peace proposal, believes the plan might be sufficiently pro-Israel to boost his waning popularity, thus enabling him to remain in office after the election and fight his legal woes from a position of strength.

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