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Netanyahu seeks to postpone his trial due to war on Gaza, claims TV channel

December 20, 2023 at 11:19 am

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu chairs a Cabinet meeting at the Kirya, which houses the Israeli Ministry of Defence, in Tel Aviv on December 17, 2023 [MENAHEM KAHANA/POOL/AFP via Getty Images]

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is seeking to postpone his trial on corruption charges due to him being busy with the war against the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, according to Israel’s Channel 13 on Tuesday. Netanyahu faces charges of accepting bribes, fraud and breach of trust, explained the Hebrew-language channel.

The District Court resumed Netanyahu’s trial on 4 December after a two month pause due to the devastating genocidal war waged by the Israeli army in Gaza since 7 October.

“Prime Minister Netanyahu promised years ago that he would be able to run the country at the same time that his criminal trial was taking place, but tonight it has become clear that he is asking the prosecution to withhold some key evidence in his trial,” said Channel 13. “Netanyahu’s lawyer, Amit Hadad, sent a letter to the Public Prosecution on Monday requesting that the testimony of some witnesses be rejected because, according to him, the prime minister will not be able to prepare for their interrogation before the end of the war.”

The channel added that they are “important” witnesses, including Justice Minister Yariv Levin, MK Ze’ev Elkin, and the legal advisor to the Prime Minister’s Office, Shlomit Barnea.

Witnesses also include the former head of the Foreign Intelligence Service (Mossad), Tamir Pardo; the former head of the General Security Service (Shin Bet), Yuval Diskin; former Minister Tzipi Livni; the publisher of Israel Hayom, Miriam Adelson; and David Shimron, Netanyahu’s cousin.

Officials in the Public Prosecutor’s Office, said Channel 13, fear that this could delay the trial by several months. “The prosecution witnesses are about to finish their testimony, and the next witness after them, who will be the first to testify on behalf of the defence, is Netanyahu himself.”

Netanyahu’s first hearing was held on 24 May, 2020. Israeli law does not require him to resign from office unless the Supreme Court convicts him, a process that may take several months.

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