Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is currently in Washington, D.C., for a meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump, announced Tuesday that he will withdraw his request for parliamentary immunity from prosecution in the three corruption cases against him.
In a statement posted on his official Facebook page, Netanyahu said he had “decided not to let this dirty game continue. I will not let my opponents interfere with the historic move I am leading.”
The announcement came hours before the Knesset was set to convene to discuss the formation of a committee to debate Netanyahu’s immunity request. Netanyahu’s Likud Party was planning to boycott the Knesset session.
Netanyahu was indicted in November on counts of fraud, breach of trust and bribery in three separate cases. He has denied any wrongdoing.
“In this fateful hour for the people of Israel, when I am in the United States on a historic mission to design the permanent borders of Israel and ensure our security for decades to come, the Knesset is expected to open another exhibition in the circus of removing immunity,” wrote Netanyahu.
Netanyahu and Trump were scheduled to meet Tuesday at the White House ahead of the announcement of the U.S. administration’s long-anticipated Middle East peace plan.
Netanyahu’s retraction of his immunity request paves the way for legal proceedings against him to go forward by week’s end, with the country’s third general election within 12 months just weeks away on March 2.
The Knesset was still expected to assemble on Tuesday despite Netanyahu’s withdrawal, as it is slated to also address former Welfare Minister Haim Katz’s request for immunity from prosecution in his own corruption cases.
This article first appeared in Israel Hayom.