יועז הנדל ב אולפן ynet
MK Yoaz Hendel
Photo: Avi Moalem
MK Yoaz Hendel

Blue & White piles on pressure for Knesset committee to debate PM immunity

Party leader Gantz and senior MK Hendel both warn Likud's Edelstein he will be ousted as Knesset speaker if he does not allow panel to form; speaker has authority to block creation of body in hope that March election will yield more favorable balance of power for the indicted prime minister

Ynet |
Published: 01.09.20 , 15:12
The Blue & White party is pressing Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein to install the Knesset committee tasked with debating Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's request for parliamentary immunity, or face removal from his post.
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  • MK Yoaz Hendel warned Thursday that Edelstein will inevitably be ousted from office if he avoids establishing the committee to discuss the last-minute request from Netanyahu, who has been indicted for bribery, breach of trust and fraud.
    יועז הנדל ב אולפן ynetיועז הנדל ב אולפן ynet
    MK Yoaz Hendel
    (Photo: Avi Moalem)
    The current Knesset, which was elected last September but has since been dissolved pending new elections in March, has a 65-member majority in favor of the formation of the appropriate committee. However, it is in the speaker's purview to allow or block the formation of any Knesset committee.
    "We will use all the means at our disposal to establish the Knesset committee," Hendel told Ynet. "I assume that Yuli Edelstein is trapped in a kind of Catch-22; I understand the political complexity he faces."
    "I see with great regret what happens to all my friends in Likud as they are coerced into saying things for the sole good of Netanyahu and not the good of the country," Hendel said.
    יולי אדלשטייןיולי אדלשטיין
    Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein
    (Photo: Yoav Dudkevitz)
    Hendel's comments came after his party leader Benny Gantz, in an ultimatum to the speaker, set Thursday as the deadline for Edelstein to allow the formation of the committee or be voted out of office by the majority of lawmakers who want the panel to be established.
    "The Knesset is handicapped," Gantz said in Tel Aviv on Wednesday. "Netanyahu has decided to drag us into an expensive third election cycle just to ensure his immunity from justice."
    Gantz complimented Edelstein for the way he had conducted himself over the years and said he was certain the speaker knows what the right thing to do is regarding the prime minister's immunity request.
    בני גנץ בתגובה לבקשתו של בנימין נתניהו לחסינות מהעמדה לדיןבני גנץ בתגובה לבקשתו של בנימין נתניהו לחסינות מהעמדה לדין
    Benny Gantz
    (Photo: Moti Kimchi)
    "The Knesset speaker represents all parties and not just the ruling Likud," Gantz said, adding that since it was the prime minister himself who requested immunity it was inconceivable to think Edelstein would stop the Knesset debating the matter.
    Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman also warned his party would vote to oust the speaker if he were to block a debate on immunity for the prime minister.
    Edelstein insists his decision will come after he receives the recommendation of Knesset legal adviser Eyal Yinon.
    Yinon had already said there is no legal impediment to allowing the committee to be chosen, triggering attacks from Likud members.
    These included Justice Minister Amir Ohana, who claimed Yinon cannot give independent legal advice because his wife works for the State Prosecutor's Office, which in Ohana's view is behind the "trumped-up charges" against the prime minister.

    First published: 15:12 , 01.09.20
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