Israel PM Netanyahu's corruption trial to resume amidst Gaza war shadow

04 December,2023 05:35 PM IST |  Jerusalem  |  mid-day online correspondent

A district court in Jerusalem is set to resume Israel PM Netanyahu`s corruption case on Tuesday, after a pause of more than two months due to war

Benjamin Netanyahu. Pic/AFP

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A district court in Jerusalem is set to resume Israel PM Netanyahu's corruption case on Tuesday, after a pause of more than two months due to the ongoing conflict in Israel and Gaza, stated a report in the PTI. According to the report, the trial, known as Case 4000 or the Bezeq-Walla bribery case, alleges that Benjamin Netanyahu favoured Bezeq Telecommunications in exchange for positive media coverage on the Walla website, previously owned by Bezeq.

Scheduled to restart, the Jerusalem District Court will continue hearing Israel PM Netanyahu's corruption case. In June, the judges in the case suggested dropping the bribery charge, but the prosecution chose to proceed, conducting testimonies before the break, the PTI report stated.

According to the report, the hiatus was extended due to the war that erupted after an attack on October 7, shifting the courts to an emergency schedule, holding only urgent hearings. The trial was deemed non-urgent during this period.

Recently, the Justice Minister allowed courts to resume normal operations, except for individuals serving in the army reserves, evacuated from homes, or connected to hostage cases. Legal proceedings, however, remain 'frozen' in connection with lawyers and litigants who were either taken hostage or deemed missing as well as their kin who qualify for government assistance under the Law for Funding of Prisoner, Hostage and Missing Person Families. The cases are being held if both parties express their wish to move forward with the lawsuit.

However, the resumption of Israel PM Netanyahu's corruption case drew criticism from David Amsalem, a minister in the Justice Ministry, calling it a "disgrace". Amsalem taking to X (formerly Twitter) wrote, "War? Hostages? Evacuees? The economy? No, and no! What's most important now is to engage the Prime Minister of Israel with the unfounded allegations and delusional trifles. Yes, yes, you read it right. There's no reason to delay it. It's an unparalleled disgrace!"

Though exempt from attending these hearings presently, the 74-year-old may need to testify in the coming months. The ongoing war raises questions about managing both the conflict and the legal proceedings in Israel PM Netanyahu's corruption case simultaneously, the report added.

Apart from the Bezeq-Walla case, Netanyahu faces charges in two other cases involving alleged receipt of gifts from billionaires and negotiation for favourable media coverage. Meanwhile, the death toll in Gaza due to Israeli attacks during the conflict has risen to 15,523, as announced by the Health Ministry there.

With PTI inputs

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