Avigdor Liberman: Benjamin Netanyahu may take a plea deal and resign

"It is reasonable to assume that if there is a decision to indict Netanyahu before the election, his chance to form a new government is close to zero,” Liberman said.

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February 10, 2019 15:36
1 minute read.
Liberman Netanyahu

Avigdor Liberman and Benjamin Netanyahu. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)

 
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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu won’t be able to form a coalition if a pre-indictment hearing is held before the election, and might resign, Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman posited at a parlor meeting, Ynet reported.

“Likud will win the election, but it’s reasonable to assume that if there is a decision to indict Netanyahu before the election, his chance of forming a new government is close to zero,” Liberman said at the event in Mevaseret Zion. “Therefore, I don’t rule out the possibility that he will reach a plea bargain before the elections.”

The deal would involve Netanyahu resigning in exchange for not being put on trial, in which case Likud would have to elect a new leader before the elections, “an upheaval” whose results would be unpredictable, the Yisrael Beytenu chairman said.

Liberman claimed that New Right Party leader Naftali Bennett is unable to commit to recommending Netanyahu as the next prime minister if he is indicted.

“Bennett hasn’t forgiven or forgotten anything with Netanyahu, especially what [he] tried to cook up on Walla against his wife and father,” Liberman said, referring to reports that Netanyahu tried to plant negative stories about Bennett’s relatives, topping off a decade of poor relations between the two. “Bennett will be the first to stab Netanyahu in the back. He’ll stand in front of the cameras and talk about the rule of law and integrity.”

Liberman also referred to “other potential partners” who will behave in the same way and are “waiting for Netanyahu” when it comes to his legal situation.

“They stuttered before the election... and it’ll be the same until April 9. But a day later, they will be the first to speak with pathos and say it is impossible for someone charged with a crime to form a government,” he added.

Yisrael Beytenu, however, will maintain that Netanyahu is innocent until found guilty, and plans to argue about issues and policy, not about his legal woes, Liberman said.

The New Right responded by saying that, “MK Liberman is a relentless talker, and the terrorist [Hamas leader] Ismail Haniyeh can testify to that, since he is still patiently waiting for Liberman’s 48-hour [death] threat to end."

The party added that it will recommend that Netanyahu form the next government.

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