Indictment, a plan and a pardon: Israeli PM has a wild week

Indictment, a plan and a pardon: Israeli PM has a wild week


MOSCOW (AP) — When Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu left the White House after the unveiling of President Donald Trump’s Mideast plan, which hugely favors Israel, he and his entourage could barely contain their glee as they boasted of realizing their dream of swiftly annexing large swaths of the West Bank.

But by the time his plane had flown across the Atlantic Ocean, the mood had taken a downturn, with Netanyahu's annexation plan suddenly in question and an embarrassing criminal trial casting a cloud over his re-election hopes.

Netanyahu's sojourn to Moscow, to bring home an Israeli backpacker jailed on drug charges that the prime minister had convinced Russia to pardon, capped a roller-coaster five-day journey during which he was also formally indicted on corruption charges.

It's been quite a trip for Israel's longest-serving prime minister, who has portrayed himself as a master statesman as he fights for his political survival ahead of March 2 elections.

It began Sunday, with grand proclamations upon departure about the great mission he was on, and about “making history” with Trump. On Monday, he beamed alongside Trump in the Oval Office, flaunting their friendship and lavishing praise upon the American president.

On Tuesday, Netanyahu withdrew a request for immunity before parliament could reject it, triggering the official launch of his trial on charges of bribery, fraud, and breach of trust stemming from three long-running corruption cases. He will now be the first sitting prime minister to face a criminal trial.

Hours later, Trump announced a plan to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that overwhelmingly favors Israel and appeared to pave the way for immediate annexation of large swaths of the West Bank, including Israel's many...

Full Article