45,000 people have signed a petition for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s arrest for war crimes when he visits the UK next month.
In September, Netanyahu will go to London on an official visit, where he will meet with British Prime Minister David Cameron.
Jewish News reported that the stalemate in the Palestine-Israel peace process and the Iranian nuclear deal will be the principal matters on the agenda during the state visit.
Published on the website of the UK parliament, the petition demands the arrest of Netanyahu upon arrival for “the massacre of over 2,000 civilians in 2014.”
Last summer, Israel staged a blood-spattered attack against Gaza that saw the death of nearly 2,300 Palestinian civilians, 500 of them children.
The attack brought Gaza’s infrastructure to its knees, and left well over 500,000 people displaced or homeless.
The UK administration will be forced to take action since the appeal has been signed by over 10,000 people. If it goes over 100,000, the legislature could discuss the issue.
Conversely, under diplomatic immunity principles, the Israeli PM is protected from being taken into custody in London for the supposed war-crimes committed in alien countries.
Israel has rubbished the appeal, referring to it as a “meaningless” publicity stunt that bears “no practical significance.”
In a formal statement, the Israeli Foreign Ministry said: “[The petition is] a PR exercise with no real meaning. Bilateral ties between Britain and Israel are closer than ever before.”
The ministry further said this is “evidenced by data on mutual trade, doubled in recent years, and by cooperation in academic studies, culture and science between the two countries.”
The Jerusalem Post reported that some retired Israeli officers have been facing threat of arrest in the UK as pro-Palestinian campaigners in Britain “take advantage of legal loopholes.” More broadly there is increasing worldwide awareness of Israeli war crimes and victimization of innocent civilians, which has led to widespread condemnation from those who have little at stake in the conflict.
Israel was the target earlier this year of the Boycott, Divest, Sanctions (BDS) movement that saw businesses around the world refuse to engage with Israeli companies over the atrocities committed by its military forces.
The United Nations confirmed earlier this year that the country did in fact engage in war crimes when it murdered hundreds of Palestinian children and callously bombed residential neighborhoods, contrary to the international rules of war.