Israel to Decide on Netanyahu Charges in Several Weeks
Israeli prosecutors will make a decision in the next few weeks on whether to file criminal charges against former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu for fraud and corruption, a legal official said Sunday.
"There is no decision yet; it will probably take another several weeks," a justice ministry official told AFP after Israeli press reports that a decision could be imminent.
The Yediot Aharonot newspaper said state attorney Edna Arbel was backing a police recommendation to indict Netanyahu but that some prosecutors in her office did not believe there was enough evidence against him.
Netanyahu, 50, and his wife Sara are alleged to have illegally kept gifts received during his three years in office and of promising a Jerusalem contractor he would be paid out of the public purse for work done on their private home.
Nevertheless, speculation is mounting that Netanyahu is plotting a political comeback, as the government of Prime Minister Ehud Barak crumbles and opinion polls show Netanyahu ahead in the popularity stakes.
Netanyahu resigned from the leadership of Likud, Israel's biggest right-wing party, and gave up his parliamentary seat after his landslide defeat by Barak in May of last year.
An opinion poll published by Yediot Aharonot on Friday found that if elections were held now Netanyahu would gain 46 percent against 42 percent for Barak, while Likud's current leader Ariel Sharon has consistently lagged behind Barak.
Netanyahu, who is blamed for grinding the peace process with the Palestinians to a halt during his term in office, last month spoke out against Barak's peace proposals at the Camp David summit - OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (AFP)
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)