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Benjamin Netanyahu is the dominant Israeli politician of his generation. On the domestic and international stage, no rival comes close to the veteran Likud Party leader known widely as “Bibi”. Israeli police on Tuesday recommended that the 68-year-old, four-term prime minister be indicted for bribery in two cases. It is by no means certain that Netanyahu will be indicted. Does Netanyahu have to resign? Netanyahu is under no strict legal obligation to quit following the police recommendations.
Indeed, he has given every indication that he intends to remain in office while pursuing a legal battle.What impact will it have on Israeli-Palestinian conflict? A cloud over Netanyahu’s political future would compound the uncertainty surrounding prospects for a resumption of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks that collapsed in 2014. If Netanyahu steps down, a successor from within Likud would need the support of the party’s hardline central committee, which passed a non-binding resolution in December calling for annexation of the Israeli-occupied West Bank, captured by Israel in a 1967 war and which Palestinians want for a future state. Recent tensions along the Syrian and Lebanese borders have not so far proved to be a major factor in domestic political calculations, as even Netanyahu’s political opponents say they do not believe his legal troubles would affect his decision-making on security matters.