Netanyahu’s Visit to London NATO Summit Canceled
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu did not travel to Britain on Tuesday, as initially had been intended, in order to meet with world leaders on the sidelines of a NATO summit, with London citing “logistical problems” related to security. Netanyahu was slated to hold talks with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and had made requests for tete-a-tetes with German Chancellor Angela Merkel as well as French President Emmanuel Macron. According to Israeli reports, the two European leaders were disinclined to meet with him just days after he slammed their perceived desire to “appease” Iran. “While the Iranian regime is killing its own people, European countries rush to support… [their] murderous [actions],” Netanyahu said in reference to an ongoing effort, spearheaded by London, Paris and Berlin, to introduce a financial instrument to circumvent US economic sanctions and allow the Islamic Republic to continue selling its oil worldwide. Netanyahu has twice in as many weeks discussed by phone “the threat from Iran” with US President Donald Trump, who withdrew the country from the nuclear accord in May 2018. Notably, the cancellation of Netanyahu’s trip to the British capital came as Israeli Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit submitted to parliament documents outlining the charges against him in three corruption cases, initiating a 30-day countdown in which Netanyahu can lobby lawmakers to grant him immunity from prosecution. The matter will become moot unless an Israeli lawmaker can step up by December 11 with a simple majority of votes endorsing him or her to go ahead and try to form a governing coalition despite an ongoing stalemate. If the deadline is missed, the Knesset, Israel’s legislature, will be forced to dissolve itself and head to an unprecedented third election in less than a year.