2018-02-13 20:49:30 UTC
JERUSALEM (AP) — Israeli police on Tuesday recommended that Benjamin
Netanyahu be indicted on bribery and breach of trust charges in a pair of
corruption cases, dealing an embarrassing blow to the embattled prime
minister that is likely to fuel calls for him to step down.
Netanyahu angrily rejected the accusations, which included accepting nearly
$300,000 in gifts from a pair of billionaires. He accused police of being on
a witch hunt, vowed to remain in office and even seek re-election.
"I will continue to lead the state of Israel responsibly and loyally as long
as you, the citizens of Israel choose me to lead you," an ashen-faced
Netanyahu said in a televised address. "I am sure that the truth will come
to light. And I am sure that also in the next election that will take place
on time I will win your trust again with God's help."
The recommendations marked a dramatic ending to a months-long investigation
into allegations that Netanyahu accepted gifts from Hollywood mogul Arnon
Milchan and Australian billionaire James Packer, and suspicions that
Netanyahu offered to give preferential treatment to a newspaper publisher in
exchange for favorable coverage.
The recommendations now go to Attorney General Avihai Mendelblit, who will
review the material before deciding whether to file charges. Netanyahu can
remain in office during that process, which could drag on for months.
But with a cloud hanging over his head, he could soon find himself facing
calls to step aside. During similar circumstances a decade ago, Netanyahu,
as opposition leader, urged then-Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to resign during
a police investigation, saying a leader "sunk up to his neck in
interrogations" could not govern properly.
/snip - read the cited linked article/