The Knesset House Committee approved a procedure Tuesday that will begin hearings on the dismissal of President Moshe Katsav within two weeks. The committee established the procedure in a unanimous vote, which was later approved by the plenum. According to the first step of the procedure, Katsav will be sent a detailed complaint informing him that he has two weeks to prepare for the hearings. There were several procedures proposed to the committee by MKs Dov Henin (Hadash) and Michael Eitan (Likud). Ultimately, the committee approved the original procedure established by Committee Chairwoman Ruhama Avraham (Kadima), with several major changes.
I trust Moshe Katsav (op-ed)
Analysis: Will Katsav go for a plea bargain?
Some of those changes included limiting the ability of Avraham to change the proceedings once the impeachment process had begun, and allowing the committee to summon Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz or one of his representatives.
According to a legal advisor in the Knesset, the proceedings can last anywhere between five and eight weeks. That schedule includes up to one week of debates in the plenum. Both the committee and the plenum will need to pass the impeachment by a three-fourths vote before it will take effect. Currently, the majority appeared slightly out of reach, with the UTJ and Shas parties undecided, and the Israel Beiteinu Party opposed to impeachment.
On Tuesday, MKs began the hearings by taking issue with Knesset legal advisor Nurit Elstein's preparation of the procedure.
"There is no basis for the accusations being leveled against me," said Elstein. "A great injustice is being done to me."
Elstein, who failed to appear at Monday and Tuesday's committee hearings because she was sick, said accusations that she was "faking illness" were unfair.