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Elham AbolFateh
AR
Sunday 23 July 2017

Middle East

Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee in Israeli Knesset calls to halt submarines deal

Sunday 16/July/2017 - 09:20 PM
Sada El Balad
Edited by Ahmed Moamar
MKs ask government to freeze payments on the deals with ThyssenKrupp until the police investigation into suspected corruption is concluded; 'We must not continue advancing a deal that is tied to an ongoing police investigation، which is only becoming more entangled and concerns the people closest to the prime minister، as Ynet said.'
Members of the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Sunday called on the government to stop Israel's payments to German company ThyssenKrupp on two procurement deals until the police investigation into suspected corruption relating to the deals is concluded.
Police suspect a series of crimes was committed surrounding two deals to procure submarines and patrol ships for the Israeli Navy، including bribery and money laundering.
Several high-profile arrests were made last week relating to the case، including attorney David Shimron، a close confidant of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu; former Navy commander Maj. Gen. (res.) Eliezer Marom; and former acting-national security advisor Avriel Bar-Yosef.

"As members of Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee، we are entrusted with the holiest of holies—Israel's security. In recent months، we've all witnessed the concerns the procurement process has been tainted due to the involvement of foreign interest elements with direct ties to the prime minister and his people،" the MKs wrote to committee chairman MK Avi Dichter (Likud).

"In addition، many new facts are coming to light that were not brought to us when we made the decision to allocate and approve the necessary funds for the deals،" the MKs added.

The Knesset، they noted، is part of the checks and balances that make up a democratic society، and its role is to supervise the actions of the executive branch.

"We must not continue advancing a deal that is tied to an ongoing police investigation، which is only becoming more entangled and concerns the people closest to the prime minister،" the MKs continued.

MK Erel Margalit (Zionist Union) was joined in the request to freeze the deals by other members of his party—MKs Amir Peretz، Omer Bar-Lev، Merav Michaeli، Shelly Yachimovich، Nachman Shai، Manuel Trajtenberg، Eyal Ben-Reuven and Ksenia Svetlova—as well as Yesh Atid MK Ofer Shelah and Meretz MKs Zehava Galon and Michal Rozin. A surprising signatory to the request is MK Rachel Azaria from Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon's Kulanu party، which is a member of the coalition.
"Netanyahu's office has become a scene out of a mafia movie،" Margalit said. "The entire office is under investigation، and only the big boss continues walking around free. It's time to stop covering things up and investigate the one who manages all of the suspects—the prime minister. After his head of office، personal lawyer and now (former) national security advisor have been questioned، there is no option left but to question the prime minister."
Margalit went on to say that "The state comptroller's report shows Netanyahu has developed a corrupt system in which he uses government ministries to promote personal and political interests. This he's done with the naval vessels deal and with the Communications Ministry. The state comptroller report determines the prime minister concealed his ties، just as he does in the submarines and ships deals. As long as he's not questioned under caution، Netanyahu will continue doing whatever it takes to obstruct justice."
Netanyahu، who is currently on a state visit to Paris، has yet to comment on the matter.

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