This recent AFP photo shows Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
A petition in the UK calling for the arrest of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during his planned September visit to Britain is gaining further momentum.
The number of petitioners calling for Netanyahu’s arrest has now almost reached the 80,000 mark.
The petition was launched earlier this month and was posted on the government’s website.
Activists say under international law, Netanyahu must be arrested for war crimes against Palestinians in the blockaded Gaza Strip last year. They want the British government to arrest Netanyahu upon arrival in the UK for an official visit next month.
The British government says certain officials have legal immunity and cannot be arrested or detained. However, if the number of signatories reaches 100,000, a parliament debate must be opened.
Now Alan Hart, London-based author, journalist and researcher says even if the British government feels the heat to arrest Netanyahu, it would forewarn him against traveling to the UK.
Earlier this month, the Israeli Ministry for Foreign Affairs said in a statement that the petition has “no real meaning,” adding, “Bilateral ties between Britain and Israel are closer than ever before.”
Israel unleashed its military onslaught on the impoverished Gaza Strip in early July 2014. The offensive ended on August 26, 2014, with a truce that went into effect following indirect negotiations between representatives from Palestinian resistance movement Hamas and Israeli regime in the Egyptian capital, Cairo.
Palestinian men clear the rubble of buildings destroyed during Israel’s 50-day war on the Gaza Strip last summer. (AFP photo)
Nearly 2,200 Palestinians, including 577 children, lost their lives in Israel’s war. Over 11,100 others – including 3,374 children, 2,088 women and 410 elderly people – also sustained injuries.