The new bill will cancel High Court oversight allowing the right-wing leader to protect his immunity as he faces indictment in three graft cases
'Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu is planning to push through a new law that would allow parliament to protect his immunity from prosecution, as he faces possible indictment in three corruption cases, according to leaks to the Israeli media.
The new far-reaching bill would allow the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, and government ministers to essentially ignore any High Court of Justice ruling, Haaretz revealed, including the potential revocation of Mr Netanyahu’s immunity.
According to the left-leaning daily, the move is written into a “legal appendix” of the coalition agreement and government guidelines Mr Netanyahu is currently drawing up as he builds a new coalition government after winning the April general election.
If passed, the clause would give additional protection to the powerful right-wing leader, who secured a record fifth term in office and whose avid supporters dominate the legislative body.
Mr Netanyahu has already tried to restore the 2005 wording of an immunity law where the Knesset House Committee could reject the attorney-general’s request to rescind immunity of a particular parliamentarian.
But the law on its own would not safeguard the prime minister as the High Court of Justice is ultimately given the final word.
According to Haaretz, the new proposed “override clause” would mean this is no longer the case, as the Knesset would be permitted to reject even the High Court’s administrative decisions, effectively turning all their rulings into legal suggestions which can be ignored.
Mr Netanyahu’s Likud party rejected the media leaks calling them “sensational” and “misleading” in a statement on Twitter, but failed to give any further details.
Anshel Pfeffer, an Israeli journalist, author and expert on Mr Netanyahu, sounded the alarm.
“The implication of this law, if it passes, will be that the High Court will lose its powers of judicial review over government actions, in any field, the military occupation, state and religion, etc. All this to save Netanyahu from being put on trial,” he wrote on Twitter.'
Read more: Netanyahu to push through new law protecting his immunity from prosecution, Israeli media reports