State Department says police recommendations against Netanyahu are 'internal matter'
Nicholas Kamm (AFP)
The United States has declined to comment on police recommendations against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in two corruption probes into his affairs, with the White House calling the scandal "an internal matter".
"We are aware of the charges leveled against Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, but we consider them by all means an internal Israeli matter," State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said speaking to the media.
“The only thing I have to say about that is that the United States has a very strong relationship not only with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, but also the Israeli Government,” she added.
Netanyahu vowed that he would continue to lead Israel despite the recommendations to indict him for bribery, fraud, and breach of trust in two corruption cases, which were leaked prior to their publication on Tuesday night.
"The only thing that interests me is the good of the country," the Prime Minister emphasized, repeating his familiar mantra that the police recommendations "will end with nothing."
Netanyahu referred to fifteen different probes that were opened against him intended to lead to his downfall and said that the majority of police recommendations fall by the wayside, suggesting the attorney general's office would not follow through on them.
He was not shy in calling out the police for having ulterior motives, referring to "ludicrous notions" that he had hired private investigators to dig up dirt on the police involved in his cases.
The Prime Minister lashed out against the police previously and once again reiterated their inability to be objective in delivering their recommendations.
According to Tamara Cofman Wittes, former State Department official and analyst at the Brookings Institute in Washington, Netanyahu's leadership could now be in question.
"The first question of course is the leadership going to change? Is Netanyahu going to remain as Prime Minister? In the immediate sense it doesn't look like he's going anywhere. But it has to begin to prepare for what may come next," she told i24NEWS.
The United States recently slammed Netanyahu after he claimed he had discussed annexing parts of the West Bank with officials in Washington, with officials calling these suggestions "false".
The Trump administration has otherwise enjoyed very positive ties with Israel, particularly since the recognition of Jerusalem as its capital last December. Trump has since announced a "deal of the century" will be reached after he discloses a peace plan for a settlement between the Israelis and the Palestinians.
"If the Trump administration was getting ready to present a peace plan -- and i'm actually skeptical -- but if they are, they might hold off. If there will be elections or a change at the top of the Likud Party they might wait and see how they would work with a new partner," analyst Tamara Cofman Wittes told i24NEWS.
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