Israel's Attorney General on Monday issued a letter addressing coalition heads, saying that "contrary to what is claimed in the media, I never held discussions regarding the prime minister's incapacitation," in response to the coalitions heads' claim that such a move would "amount to declaring a coup."
In a letter issued on Monday and signed by the heads of the coalition parties, the lawmakers claimed that Gali Baharav-Miara hasn't denied publications in the media claiming that she was holding discussions about the possibility of incapacitating Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. "We see such discussions, if they are indeed being held, an attempt at a coup that is clearly illegal," they wrote.
"An attempt to declare or announce the incapacitation of an incumbent leader constitutes a clearly illegal attempt to depose and overthrow an elected and legal government, without a shred of legal authorization," the letter read.
"No legal sleight of hand will stand in the face of what is obvious in all properly run states: The prime minister is elected by the majority of the people and their representatives," coalition heads said.
The letter was signed by Yariv Levin on behalf of Likud, Arye Dery on behalf of Shas, Bezalel Smotrich on behalf of Religious Zionism, Itamar Ben-Gvir on behalf of Otzma Yehudit, and Avi Maoz on behalf of Noam as well as the heads of each faction of United Torah Judaism.
"Do you believe that officials appointed by the government sit in offices and discuss whether to declare incapacitation [of the prime minister], to stage a coup d'etat?" Arye Dery said of the claims against the attorney general on Monday.
On Sunday, Haaretz reported that the attorney general will consider declaring Netanyahu unfit for office due to the conflict of interest with the judiciary owing to his ongoing criminal trial.
Baharav-Miara is expected to meet with senior Justice Ministry officials over the coming days to discuss the issue and the possibility of ordering Netanyahu to suspend himself as a result. Ministry officials have stressed that these are only discussions, not concrete measures.
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The possibility of his suspension comes after Baharav-Miara reminded Netanyahu last week that he is still bound by the conflict of interest arrangement he signed three years ago, which applies to his current legal situation.
This means that Netanyahu is barred from making judicial appointments, or getting involved in legislative matters that may impact his ongoing trial. Netanyahu signed the arrangement three years ago when the attorney general at the time, Avichai Mandelblit, drew up the arrangement in order to prevent Netanyahu from being declared unfit for office.