Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s attorney Amit Hadad told Army Radio on Thursday regarding news that the State Prosecutor’s Office had completed its opinion on the cases in which Netanyahu is a suspect that “we are light years away from an indictment,” adding, “There’s no point in talking about it – it’s hypothetical. There is no plea bargain, and there won’t be one.”
Attorney Hadad then struck an ominous note when he said, “I want to remind the public that in 2004 everything seemed to lead to an indictment against [then PM Ariel] Sharon, and in the end, after the police and the State Attorney’s Office recommended it, [then attorney general Menachem] Mazuz came in and closed down the case.”
Hadad’s comment takes us back to the Greek island affair, a political scandal involving millionaire David Appel and Ariel Sharon, with the latter being accused of illegally helping the former purchase the island of Patroklos for the purpose of building a multimillion-dollar resort complex. On June 14, 2004, AG Mazuz closed the case against Sharon, who soon thereafter declared the unilateral evacuation of 8,000 Jewish settlers from their homes in the Gaza Strip.
Netanyahu’s attorney’s note on the recent history of Israel’s settlements enterprise should give pause to Israeli right-wingers.
Next week, the attorney general will begin deliberations on the basis of a draft of the opinion of State Prosecutor Shai Nitzan and prosecution attorney Liat Ben-Ari, according to which “case 4000” is defined as a clear bribery case.
According to Israeli media, the prosecution’s goal is to reach a decision within two months or at most three months.
The PM responded, saying: “The leaks and media coercion are intended to exert an unacceptable pressure so that indictments will be filed at any cost.”
State Prosecutor Shai Nitzan revealed yesterday that there had been “significant progress in cases in which the prime minister is a suspect.”
Nitzan added: “As you know, a few weeks ago, the Police and the Securities Authority recommendations were published in case 4000, and the complete investigation findings were forwarded to the State Attorney’s Office for review. In addition, close to that time, the police completed—as it had been requested to do—the investigation of the cases referred to as 1000 and 2000 and transferred them to the State Attorney’s Office as well. In the past, we stated clearly that we would make every effort to examine the totality of the evidence as soon as possible – and so we have done.”
Nitzan noted that the evidence is spread over an 800-page opinion, and that “following the receipt of the draft opinions, over the last two months I have conducted an intensive series of preliminary discussions in which I and other senior officials in the State Attorney’s Office were presented with the relevant evidence—which is very broad—and deliberated various legal and evidentiary questions in light of the draft opinion.”
A statement on behalf of the Prime Minister said: “We are certain that examining the evidence while ignoring the background noise will prove that nothing happened.”