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Netanyahu: A dark day for democracy; police using Pegasus on citizens is like IDF jets bombing Israelis

Head of opposition and head of the Likud party Benjamin Netanyahu (left) speaks during a plenum session at the Knesset in Jerusalem on February 7, 2022. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)
Head of opposition and head of the Likud party Benjamin Netanyahu (left) speaks during a plenum session at the Knesset in Jerusalem on February 7, 2022. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

Former prime minister Netanyahu speaks out from the Knesset dais about police-spying allegations, calling the revelations a “dark day for Israeli democracy.”

“That applies to all Israeli citizens, right and left.”

He accuses police of using the “most aggressive tools in the world” to spy on citizens, comparing the use of Pegasus spyware to the IDF “using planes meant to be used against Iran, Hezbollah and Hamas to blow up Israeli civilians.”

“They exposed citizens, followed them, listened in on them, and got into their most buried secrets. Who knows what improprieties they used it for? A spying application meant to be used against terror and to fight our enemies turned into an everyday tool for police to spy on civilians, against every law and norm,” he says.

He derides hecklers who blame him for appointing former police chief Roni Alsheich, during whose tenure, possibly among those of other police chiefs, the alleged abuse of spyware reportedly took place. “So, I appointed him, so what?” Netanyahu demands. “What’s this nonsense.”

The only way to deal with the allegations, Netanyahu says, is via an independent investigation “acceptable to both sides of this House.”

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