Netanyahu ‘Knows How to Manipulate’ Israeli Politics to Escape Charges

© AP Photo / Amir CohenIsraeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends a cabinet meeting
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends a cabinet meeting - Sputnik International
Earlier this week, Israel’s attorney general announced he was bringing corruption charges against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. However, “Bibi” is likely to wiggle his way out, an Israeli author told Sputnik Friday, because he’s nothing short of the most capable politician in Israeli history.

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Israeli Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit announced Thursday that charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust would be filed against Netanyahu, who leads the right-wing Likud Party in Israel's parliament, the Knesset. While Netanyahu will be allowed to argue his case during pretrial hearings, the minister nonetheless indicated Friday he would not resign, as the case was a "witch hunt," Sputnik reported.

Radio Sputnik's Loud and Clear spoke Friday about the case with Miko Peled, author of "The General's Son: The Journey of an Israeli in Palestine" and "Injustice: The Story of the Holy Land Foundation Five." Peled said he thought Netanyahu was capable of surviving the fiasco.

​Peled said there are "several key issues. One is the word ‘pending': the indictment is pending a hearing. So, the hearing will determine whether or not he's actually indicted, and the hearing is an opportunity for him to show that ‘this is a witch hunt' and ‘it's politicized' and so on. Besides all of that, the hearing will not take place until the summer — in other words, way past the elections — and none of the material, none of the evidence is going to be given… out until after the elections," he said, noting the case involves many people. "And then, the final decision, after the hearings, on whether or not to actually indict him won't take place until 2020."

A female protester hurls a stone while others burn tires near the fence of the Gaza Strip border with Israel, during a protest east of Khan Younis, southern Gaza Strip, Friday, Aug. 10, 2018. Violence erupted at the Gaza border Friday after the territory's militant Islamic Hamas rulers and Israel appeared to be honoring a cease-fire that ended two days of intense violence amid efforts by neighboring Egypt to negotiate between the two sides - Sputnik International
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"So he's got a lot of time here, and Netanyahu will know very well what to do with his time," Peled said, advising would-be revelers in Bibi's political demise to "hold the champagne — it's not happening yet… he knows how to manipulate the system… he is, I think, the most accomplished Israeli politician in the history of the state."

"I don't have any doubt that he's going to find a way to spin this in a way to show that he's being victimized, and this is only going to help him," Peled said.

However, the author dismissed the idea that the newly formed "Israeli Resilience Party" or "Hosen L'Yisrael," was a "center-left" party, as it's commonly been characterized. IRP's leader, President Benny Gantz, poses a serious electoral threat to Netanyahu's Likud, especially after IRP decided last week to form a united slate with Telem Yesh Atid in the April 9 Knesset elections. They are calling the block "Blue and White," the Times of Israel reported.

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"Calling a party that has five former IDF chiefs of staff ‘left-of-center' just kind of shows you how severe the situation is," Peled said. "These guys all belong on the defendant's bench at The Hague, at the International Criminal Court. This is a list of probably some of the worst war criminals that have possibly even existed since World War II. To say that these guys are ‘left' or even 'center' is a joke — there's nothing left or centrist about these people. But they're new, and they're former generals… one or two of them are kind of charismatic… I don't think they pose a real challenge to Netanyahu."

Plus, Peled said, nobody can build political coalitions better than Netanyahu, and many of the smaller parties in Israel are campaigning on the basis of forming an alliance with the prime minister in order to win consideration for their own values in the government to come.

Perhaps Netanyahu's most notorious alliance, though, is the one he's formed with Habayit Hayehudi, or the "Jewish Home Party," which has been described as "Israel's KKK," Haaretz noted.

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On February 20, Likud and Habayit Hayehudi said in a joint statement they would not attack each other during the coming election, "but rather will strengthen one another for the sake of the right-wing victory," Haaretz reported. Further, Habayit Hayehudi joined forces with the far-right orthodox Tkuma party and the Otzma Yehudit party, which is run by followers of a racist, anti-Arab rabbi named Meir Kahane. Kahane helped found a fascist gang called the Jewish Defense League and got banned from running in Knesset elections in 1988 after he forwarded bills that amounted to instituting total racial separatism in the country, banning the fraternization and cohabitation of Jews and Arabs, and also for inciting terrorist groups, the New York Times reported at the time. He was assassinated in 1990.

"These guys, ideologically, they're no different from Netanyahu, but they just don't have the good manners that he does," Peled told host John Kiriakou and Sputnik news analyst Walter Smolarek, noting that the group considers Baruch Goldstein, the perpetrator of the 1994 Cave of the Patriarchs/Ibrahimi Mosque Massacre, which killed 29 people and injured 125 in Hebron, to be a hero.

"It's very cynical" that Netanyahu has formed this alliance on the 25th anniversary of the massacre, Peled said, noting that "the name of the game in Israeli politics today is who wins the race to the far-most right of the spectrum."

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