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Lieberman: Netanyahu Will Quit in Return for Closing Corruption Files against Him

Lieberman: Netanyahu Will Quit in Return for Closing Corruption Files against Him

Monday, 11 February, 2019 - 08:45
Former Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman. (Reuters)
Tel Aviv - Asharq Al-Awsat
Former Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Sunday that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would probably strike a plea deal with the public prosecution in return for closing corruption files against him.

"The Likud will win the elections," Lieberman said in a closed event, "although it's fair to say that if the decision is taken to bring charges against Benjamin Netanyahu before the election, his chances of forming a government will be zero. Therefore, I am not ruling out the possibility that Netanyahu will strike a plea deal before the elections."

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

“Bennett hasn’t forgiven or forgotten anything with Netanyahu, especially what [he] tried to cook up on Walla against his wife and father,” Lieberman 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.”

“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.

He told the Yedioth Ahronoth daily: "I am not ruling out the possibility that Netanyahu will ultimately go with a plea deal similar to the one struck by former president Ezer Weizman – retirement to (his family home in) Caesarea in return for not standing trial.”

“If he signs on an agreement like that, the Likud will need to choose his heir before the elections. If this is the case, we can expect a political storm because it's unclear how this will end.”

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