Netanyahu says he opposes proposal to halt his graft trial, won’t fire AG

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a Channel 12 interview, March 20, 2021 (Channel 12 screenshot)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a Channel 12 interview, March 20, 2021 (Channel 12 screenshot)

Prime Minister Netanyahu insists in two television interviews that he flatly opposes a proposal to halt his trial on graft charges and again claims the charges against him are “fabricated” and will collapse.

“I rule it out. It will not happen,” he tells Channel 13. “Nobody stops a trial.”

In a Channel 12 interview, anchor Rina Mazliah notes that Public Security Minister Amir Ohana — a possible justice minister in a future Netanyahu government — has said he supports a proposal to call off Netanyahu’s trial.

“I’m against canceling my trial. First of all, you don’t stop a trial. Second, these fabricated charges are collapsing before our eyes,” Netanyahu says.

He adds: “I will stand trial. I will win at this trial. And the most interesting trial is the trial before the public [in these elections]. The public will now decide, not the prosecutors…”

The premier then lashes out at the network over a feature on the TV screen asking if viewers are persuaded by the various party leaders’ interviews.

“You should be embarrassed by this app on the screens,” he says. “You control it… Do you think people believe you? You have been recruited as a political party. This studio is working against me politically from start to finish…”

He then denies plans to fire Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit, who indicted him in the corruption cases.

“I won’t fire Mandeblit. But I will ensure a balance between the [judiciary and the legislature and executive].

“The power of the judiciary is out of balance. Take the decision now to open the skies” — a reference to the High Court decision last week to reopen the airport to all Israelis who want to come home ahead of the elections.” This decision is wrong-headed since it risks bringing COVID-19 variants into Israel, but he is powerless to overrule it, he says.