‘It’s a smoke show’: Netanyahu’s criminal indictment takes backseat to Trump plan

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In the midst of the global media frenzy surrounding US President Donald Trump’s revelation of his peace plan, a key piece of news got swept up in the mix: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was officially indicted on charges of corruption.

The move came after Netanyahu decided to drop his last-ditch effort to avoid prosecution by requesting parliamentary immunity.

Netanyahu said he was pulling his request, which was scheduled to take place on Tuesday, because he felt he would not have been given a fair trial anyway, calling it “the immunity circus” in a post on Facebook Tuesday morning.

“Since I was not given due process, because all the rules of Knesset work were trampled on, and since the results of the procedure were pre-dictated without proper discussion, I decided not to let this dirty game continue,” he said.

“I will not allow my political opponents to use this matter to interfere with the historic move I am leading,” Netanyahu said, referring to his collaboration with Trump on the peace plan.

Following Netanyahu’s announcement that he was no longer seeking parliamentary immunity, Israel’s Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit filed a 78-page indictment to the Jerusalem District Court, paving the way for a court date to be set for Netanyahu.

Netanyahu’s political rivals, including Benny Gantz, who said “no one can run a state and at the same time manage three serious criminal cases for bribery, fraud and breach of trust.”

But the news of the indictment, which marked the first time a sitting Israeli prime minister has been indicted on criminal charges, was quickly swept aside as Trump unveiled the details of his peace plan, with a smiling Netanyahu at his side.

While Trump implored Palestinians in his speech to adhere to international standards against financial and political corruption, he made no mention of the bribery, corruption, and fraud charges brought against Netanyahu just hours before.

As reactions to Trump’s proposal poured in from around the world, many critics pointed to Netanyahu’s indictment and the ongoing impeachment hearings against Trump as reason to cast doubt on the pair’s political agenda.

Palestinians and their supporters have accused Trump and Netanyahu of putting on a political stunt to distract from the problems plaguing each of their careers at the cost of the Palestinian people.

In Ramallah, Palestinian protesters told Mondoweiss on Tuesday night that they were outraged by the “show” put on by Trump and Netanyahu, without regard for the desires of the Palestinian people.

“This is clearly a distraction, a kind of smoke show, to distract from their problems,” Elaal Jaber, 20, said. “Trump and Nentanyahu are both criminals, and we are supposed to accept their plans for us?”

“The right of return is not included, Jerusalem is carved up, and we won’t have control of our borders,” Jaber continued. “There’s no way any Palestinian would agree to any of this.”

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View all comments “Trump’s ‘deal of the century’ is no deal at all” Washington Post, January 29/20, by Ishaan Tharoor “Maybe in the early stages of his presidency, it seemed plausible that a figure as sui generis as President Trump could untangle the Gordian knot of Middle East peace. But rather than working to bridge the profound gap between Israelis and Palestinians that bedeviled U.S. policymakers for decades, the Trump administration has spent the past three years… Read more »

This is indeed a farce, a one sided peace plan, and at a glance shows it was orchestrated and written by the occupier’s crooked PM, and his two servants, Trump and Kushner. Career diplomats, world leaders, and experts, have come up with peace plans, but it was rejected by both sides, at one time or the other, and who in their right mind thinks a totally biased man like Kushner, whose bed Netanyahu has slept… Read more »