ISRAEL: Prime Minister Netanyahu Indicted on Corruption Charges

Photo: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, currently being indicted on corruption charges

By Jennifer Kelly

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was indicted on charges of bribery, fraud, and breach of trust on Thursday, the first in the history of Israel to face indictment while in office. The charges include offering government favors and regulatory benefits to media companies in exchange for gifts and positive media coverage.

Among the allegations against him, Netanyahu is accused of offering valuable regulatory benefits to Shaul Elovitch, the owner of Bezeq, the largest telecommunications company in Israel, in return for more favorable coverage on Walla, a website controlled by Elovitch.

Netanyahu repeatedly demanded that the website increase the amount of favorable coverage of him, and in return advanced regulatory benefits which amounted to US $280 million to the businesses owned by Elovitch. Netanyahu also removed an official within the Ministry of Communications for opposing Elovitch and replaced him with a lackey of his own.

Netanyahu, who has fought the allegations over the course of a three-year investigation,  called the indictment an “attempted coup” and a “witch hunt” in a televised statement on November 21, calling on his supporters to protest and resist the indictment.

In parliament, Netanyahu and his supporters have sought to pass legislation which would make him immune from charges relating to any crime he committed while in office. Parliament, however, has been totally frozen for months and unable to pass any legislation, due to Netanyahu’s inability to form a coalition government.

During his tenure, Netanyahu has openly attacked Arab and African citizens of Israel and the bourgeois parties that claim to represent them. He has promised to annex all of the illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank, has overseen repeated military attacks on Palestinians in Gaza, and has even ordered attacks on Syria in hopes of taking the Golan Heights. His advancement of settler colonialism, apartheid, and genocide, all in service of US imperialism, are far greater crimes than the bribery and corruption charges that are now catching up with him.

These charges, assuming they stick, will not fundamentally change the character of Israel. Much like the liberal rallying cry for the impeachment of Donald Trump, this sham process can only serve to legitimize the state of Israel. If Netanyahu is replaced, either by another member of his reactionary Likud party or by one of his more liberal counterparts, the state of Israel will continue its occupation of Palestinian land, its campaign of genocide against the Palestinian nation, its policy of apartheid within its borders, and its warmongering against Arab neighbors.

This corruption is endemic to all of the reactionary old states, which are becoming more rotten every year as imperialism decays, and are being unmasked throughout the world. Many presidents and other high-level state officials throughout Latin America have been swept up in the Odebrecht corruption scandal, including former Peruvian Presidents Alejandro Toledo and the fascist Alan Garcia. Thousands have also risen in protest against the corruption of the US puppet government in Iraq.

No investigations or legal proceedings can solve the problem of corruption. Imperialism, which invites corruption, must be overthrown.