“Israeli police on Sunday recommended indicting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on charges of bribery and corruption in a third case — this time on suspicion that the leader eased business regulations for the country’s largest telecommunications company in exchange for favorable coverage for him and his wife on a popular news website owned by the firm,” the Washington Post reports.
“Sara Netanyahu, the wife of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, is likely to be indicted on fraud-related charges in a case that peers into spending on catered meals and lifestyle in the official residence,” the Washington Post reports.
“The probe — called the ‘meals ordering affair’ — alleges that the prime minister’s wife and the head of the operational resources unit in the official residence falsified documents so that food from outside companies and private chefs could be used, even though there was a full-time chef.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “has rejected criminal suspicions leveled against him in recent days, amid speculation that his tenure will end soon,” the Jerusalem Post reports.
“Netanyahu lashed out – in private conversations with Knesset members – at the press, the opposition and members of his own party, whom he accused of conspiring to unseat him.”
Said Netanyahu: “They are trying to get me and attempting to topple the Right. This is not new. They have been trying for many years. I don’t see us going to elections now.”
He added: “I have nothing to fear. I don’t think I have a problem.”
Ha’aretz: “Suspicions in the main corruption affair involving Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are backed by a tape documenting alleged contacts between Netanyahu and a businessman over mutual benefits.”
“At the heart of the affair, dubbed Case 2000, is alleged evidence of the businessman’s support that would help Netanyahu remain in office. In exchange, the prime minister would ensure the businessman huge financial benefits.”
“It may be said that the affair is based on solid evidence that will be difficult to dispute, like that provided by former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s bureau chief Shula Zaken about Olmert: a series of tapes in which the prime minister’s own voice is heard. People who spoke with Netanyahu over the weekend, after his second police interrogation amid corruption allegations, said he was surprised by the evidence against him.”
A day after being criticized by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for his comments about Muslims, Donald Trump abruptly announced that he is “postponing” a planned trip to Israel and rescheduling a meeting with the country’s leader until “after I become President of the U.S,” NBC News reports.
New York Times: “The tortured relationship between Barack and Bibi, as they call each other, has been a story of crossed signals, misunderstandings, slights perceived and real. Burdened by mistrust, divided by ideology, the leaders of the United States and Israel talked past each other for years until the rupture over Mr. Obama’s push for a nuclear agreement with Iran led to the spectacle of Mr. Netanyahu denouncing the president’s efforts before a joint meeting of Congress.”
“As Mr. Netanyahu arrives at the White House on Monday for his first visit in more than a year, both leaders have reasons to put the past behind them. They will discuss a new security agreement and ways to counter Iran.”
“Israeli historians and opposition politicians on Wednesday joined Palestinians in denouncing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel for saying it was a Palestinian, the grand mufti of Jerusalem, who gave Hitler the idea of annihilating European Jews during World War II,” the New York Times reports.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “is still struggling to put together a new right wing coalition government in Israel before a looming deadline at midnight on Wednesday,” the Guardian reports.
“Although the prime minister is expected to scrape together a coalition by the thinnest of margins – with the key support of the far-right Jewish Home party led by Naftali Bennett – it appears it will be at the head of an unstable and vulnerable government. Failure to meet the deadline would mean that the Israeli president, Reuven Rivlin, would be required to ask another Israeli MP to try to form a government.”
David Remnick: “For twenty years, many people in Israel and in the West have expressed the hope that Benjamin Netanyahu would prove to be the Richard Nixon of the State of Israel … the Nixon who yearned to enter the pantheon of statesmen, and who defied his Red-baiting past and initiated diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China. … It is amazing to recall how long this fantasy persisted.”
First Read: “A week after Prime Minister Netanyahu’s election win last Tuesday, relations between the Obama administration and the Netanyahu aren’t getting better — they’re getting worse.”
“We’re having a hard time thinking of another time when two allies have been THIS angry and been THIS public about their disagreements. Talk about venom and score-settling. As with most angry disagreements between friends, it’s hard to remember who landed the first punch.”
Former Secretary of State James Baker harshly criticized Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, echoing White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough’s comments earlier in the day, Haaretz reports.
Baker acknowledged his disappointment with “the lack of progress regarding a lasting peace,” saying that the chances for a two-state solution diminished since Netanyahu’s reelection last week. Baker further slammed Netanyahu’s “diplomatic missteps and political gamesmanship,” saying that the prime minister’s “actions have not matched his rhetoric.”
Even as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu apologized to Israeli Arabs for comments made during his re-election campaign, “the White House issued a new signal that it remained furious with Mr. Netanyahu for campaign comments that also appeared to close the door on a two-state solution to the Palestinian conflict,” the New York Times reports.
President Obama said that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “had hampered the Mideast peace process by saying in the closing days of his re-election campaign that there would be no Palestinian state during his tenure as Israel’s leader,” the Wall Street Journal reports.
Said Obama: “We take him at his word when he said that it wouldn’t happen during his prime ministership, and so that’s why we’ve got to evaluate what other options are available to make sure that we don’t see a chaotic situation in the region.”
“The President should get over it. Get over your temper tantrum, Mr. President”
— Sen. John McCain, in an interview with CNN, on President Obama’s “personal problems” with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “walked back his pre-election declaration that no Palestinian state would be established on his watch, and said he had not been trying to suppress the votes of Arab citizens when he posted a video on Election Day warning that they were heading to polling stations in large numbers,” the New York Times reports.
The Wall Street Journal says Netanyahu withdrew his pledge to block the creation of a Palestinian state, saying he only believed the conditions for one “today are not achievable.”
Thomas Friedman: “When the official government of Israel is a far-right party that rejects a two-state solution and employs anti-Arab dog whistles to get elected, it will split the basic unity of the American Jewish community on Israel. How many American Jews want to defend a one-state solution in Washington or on their college campuses?”
Benjamin Netanyahu’s “resounding victory in Israeli elections on Tuesday appears to have dashed any hopes President Obama might have had for a way out of his tumultuous and often bitter relationship with the prime minister,” the New York Times reports.
“White House officials offered no immediate reaction late Tuesday night to results that showed Mr. Netanyahu with a substantial lead after a divisive campaign that featured a national debate about whether the Israeli leader was undermining the country’s longstanding connection with the United States.”
Wall Street Journal: “White House officials hold out little hope that, in the remaining 20 months of President Barack Obama’s term, the U.S. and Israeli leaders will be able to narrow their differences over a nuclear agreement with Iran or make progress on Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, based on early assessments Wednesday.”
“After a bruising campaign focused on his failings, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel won a clear victory in Tuesday’s elections and seemed all but certain to form a new government and serve a fourth term, though he offended many voters and alienated allies in the process,” the New York Times reports.
“Mr. Netanyahu and his allies had seized on earlier exit polls that showed a slimmer Likud lead to create an aura of inevitability, and celebrated with singing and dancing. While his opponents vowed a fight, Israeli political analysts agreed even before most of the ballots were counted that he had the advantage, with more seats having gone to the right-leaning parties likely to support him.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel said that “as long as he is the leader, a Palestinian state would not be established, reversing his support for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” the New York Times reports.
“Mr. Netanyahu made the assertion on the eve of an election in which he is trailing in the polls. He has been campaigning aggressively, appealing to conservatives for support.”