Opposition Leaders: Lieberman Must Resign if Indicted

Labor, Meretz leaders announce they will insist foreign minister be removed from office if he is indicted for any of the charges brought against him.

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Israeli opposition called on Thursday for the resignation of Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, ahead of the expected announcement by the attorney general on the decision of whether he will be indicted in a number of cases of graft.

Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein is expected to close the main case against the foreign minister, which involves allegations of money-laundering, fraud, and breach of trust, on suspicion that he received millions of dollars from international businessmen through foreign straw companies while serving in public positions.

However, Weinstein is expected to charge Lieberman with breach of trust for allegedly working to promote former ambassador to Belarus Ze'ev Ben Aryeh without reporting that the latter gave him information concerning the investigation while being conducted in Belarus.

Labor chairwoman Shelly Yacimovich announced she would demand Lieberman's resignation if an indictment were served, even if only in the ambassador case. "Even if a decision would be made not to indict [Lieberman] in the main affair and only indict in the seemingly small ambassador affair, we would demand Lieberman would resign immediately as required by law."

In a published statement, she described Lieberman as a "particularly extreme and corrupt individual." Referring to Lieberman's recent attacks on the Palestinian Authority and the European Union, Yacimovich said his actions seem peculiar, but actually are aimed at drawing the public attention from his legal issues.

Meretz chairwoman Zahava Gal-On made it clear that if the foreign minister refuses to resign, following an indictment, she would appeal to the High Court of Justice. "The High Court ruled that a cabinet minister must behave ethically and with integrity, but Lieberman demonstrated corruption, thuggery and the breaching of public trust."

"Lieberman's attacks in recent days against the European community," she continued, "prove that every day that he stays in office causes irreversible damage to the State of Israel."

Labor chief Shelly Yacimovich, right, and Meretz head Zahava Gal-On in the Knesset, June 28, 2011.Credit: Tomer Appelbaum

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