Thousands of Israelis are set to demonstrate in Tel Aviv on Saturday against Benjamin Netanyahu’s efforts to grant himself immunity from prosecution and limit the power of Israel’s highest court.
The Israeli prime minister is facing a trial later this year after a 16-month police investigation into three corruption cases recommended that he be indicted. Earlier this year, Israel’s attorney-general reviewed the police report and agreed.
Last week leaks to Israeli media revealed that Netanyahu is trying to introduce a new law to allow parliament to grant him protection from prosecution. He is aiming to form a ruling coalition comprising at least 61 of the 120 parliamentary seats.
Such a bill would allow the Israeli parliament to annul Israel’s Supreme Court rulings in administrative matters. This means that if the court rules against giving Netanyahu immunity, he would legally be allowed to ignore it.
Democracy demonstrators will gather on Saturday for a protest organised by the Blue and White party, headed by Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz, whose election challenge last month left him with 31 seats, the same number of Netanyahu’s Likud.
Gantz said: “It cannot be that deals are concocted whose purpose is to impair the rule of law and undermine the foundations of democracy for the sake of the prime minister, against whom three indictments loom.”
Netanyahu’s lawyers will soon argue at a pre-trial hearing that he should not be indicted, after which Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit will make a final decision as to whether any or all of the cases should proceed to a district court trial.
If they do and Netanyahu is found guilty, he can appeal to the Israel’s Supreme Court, whose power and independence Netanyahu’s bill would limit.
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