Nearly half of Israelis believe police over Netanyahu regarding PM’s corruption – poll

Nearly half of Israeli voters believe the police corruption allegations against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who denies any wrongdoing, according to a recent survey.

The Reshet TV poll asked people whether they believed the police, who claim that Netanyahu improperly accepted expensive gifts from businessmen and conspired with the owner of Yedioth Ahronoth daily, Reuters reports. Around 49 percent say they side with the police and their version, while a quarter say they believe the prime minister, who denies the allegations. The remaining 26 percent said they could not decide.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu © Amir Cohen

The survey comes after police recently recommended that Netanyahu be indicted over claims of bribery, fraud, and breach of trust, following more than a year of investigation. Police said they gathered sufficient evidence to start legal proceedings against the premier in two separate probes – Case 1000 and Case 2000. Although the recommendations were submitted to the attorney general, it may take months before the decision is made.

Case 1000 alleges that Netanyahu, along with his wife Sara, received lavish gifts worth thousands of dollars from Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan and Australian billionaire James Packer in exchange for favors. The other probe revolves around suspicions of Netanyahu conspiring with the owner of the top-selling Israeli newspaper Arnon Mozes to gain more positive coverage of himself.

The prime minister has repeatedly denied the “baseless” allegations, saying the investigation “will end with nothing.” Following the police announcement, Netanyahu said he will continue to do his job “responsibly and loyally.”

@RT_com Netanyahu maintains innocence as Israeli police edge closer to indicting PM for corruption

When asked whether the prime minister should temporarily step down, nearly half (49 percent) of the 495 respondents said Netanyahu should stay in office, while 43 percent said he should leave. However, Israeli law does not require a leader to step down in the case of indictment. As for whether the investigation was designed to oust Netanyahu, 38 percent thought it was, while 44 did not.

READ MORE: Netanyahu says ‘attempts to topple’ him will fail as leader suspected of fraud & bribery – media

The probes were launched in December 2016 and have later grown into a source of public outrage, with thousands protesting what they called “Crime Minister”. Late last year, the protest movement was given a boost by Israeli lawmakers, who passed a law aimed at scrapping the procedure of police recommendations to the attorney general. The bill, however, was watered down so that it would not apply to current investigations, including Netanyahu’s.

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After Paris: Hypocrisy and Mendacity Writ Large

You have to feel for Benjamin Netanyahu. Just as he was engaging in another of his frequent bouts of foul mendacity with his attempt to exploit the carnage in Paris to justify Israel’s oppression of the Palestinians, up pops the Spanish authorities with a warrant for his arrest.

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Over 46,000 Brits Sign Petition to Try Netanyahu for War Crimes

If the petition reaches 100,000 signatures, the issue must be debated in the U.K. parliament, according to the government website.

As of Thursday morning, over 46,000 Britons had signed a petition calling on their government to arrest Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for war crimes when he arrives in the U.K. next month.

“Benjamin Netanyahu is to hold talks in London this September. Under international law, he should be arrested for war crimes upon arrival in the U.K., for the massacre of over 2,000 civilians in 2014,” reads the online petition, whose numbers are jumping by the minute.

The petition is referring to the war in Gaza last summer, which Israel calls Operation Protective Edge. The United Nations say it left thousands of Gazans homeless and displaced and local infrastructure in the besieged area in shambles.

The message was placed on, a special petition website created by the U.K. government. According to the site, any petition that gets 10,000 signatures or more should be discussed by government, while any that receive 100,000 signatures or more must be considered for debate in the U.K. parliament.

However, according to the British Embassy in Israel, under British law, “foreign heads of state enjoy immunity from the legal process, and cannot be arrested or detained,” it told Israeli press.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry shrugged off the petition as a “PR exercise with no practical significance.”

It also downplayed the petition’s repercussions by focusing on the diplomatic relationship between the two nations.

“The bilateral relations between Britain and Israel are closer than ever, as evidenced by data on mutual trade which has doubled in recent years, along with fruitful academic, cultural and scientific bilateral cooperation," it said.

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Obama Confirms He Will Not Meet with Netanyahu During March Visit to U.S.

WASHINGTON – U.S. President Barack Obama will not meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu when the latter visits Washington in March, two weeks before the elections in his country, according to excerpts from the president’s television interview with CNN released by the network on Wednesday.

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