In the UK, a petition has been circulating, calling for the arrest of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu upon his next trip to London. However, David Cameron and representatives of the UK government have said that they will not arrest him because he has diplomatic immunity.
Regardless of the government’s unwillingness to cooperate with the petition, the volume of signatures shows that a growing number of people are beginning to recognize the war crimes that the Israeli government and military is participating in.
So far, the petition has gathered over 80,000 signatures of UK citizens who demand that the Israeli PM be detained when he enters the country. According to Damian Moran, the petition’s creator, Netanyahu is obviously guilty of war crimes, and according to international law the government should be able to detain him whether or not he has diplomatic immunity.
“It is a clear message to him that there’s a massive amount of people who don’t want him here,” Moran said.
The UK government was forced to respond after the petition reached 10,000 signatures, and they basically defended their friendship with the apartheid state.
The British Government has invited Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as head of the Israeli Government, to visit the UK in September. Under UK and international law, certain holders of high-ranking office in a State, including Heads of State, Heads of Government and Ministers for Foreign Affairs are entitled to immunity, which includes inviolability and complete immunity from criminal jurisdiction.
We recognise that the conflict in Gaza last year took a terrible toll. As the Prime Minister said, we were all deeply saddened by the violence and the UK has been at the forefront of international reconstruction efforts. However the Prime Minister was clear on the UK’s recognition of Israel’s right to take proportionate action to defend itself, within the boundaries of international humanitarian law. We condemn the terrorist tactics of Hamas who fired rockets on Israel, built extensive tunnels to kidnap and murder, and repeatedly refused to accept ceasefires. Israel, like any state, has the right to ensure its own security, as its citizens also have the right to live without fear of attack.
The UK consistently urged Israel to do everything possible to avoid civilian casualties, to exercise restraint, and to help find ways to bring the situation to an end. The UK continues to urge the parties to give priority to reaching a durable solution for Gaza which addresses the underlying drivers of conflict, and to take the necessary practical steps to ensure Gaza’s reconstruction and economic recovery.
We welcome the fact that Israel is conducting internal investigations into specific incidents during Operation Protective Edge. Where there is evidence of wrongdoing those responsible must be held accountable whatever their position in society. Both parties must also demonstrate robust and credible internal investigations which are in line with international standards. We have also encouraged the Israeli authorities, as we do all countries, to cooperate with the independent Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) regarding the preliminary examination into the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories since 13 June, 2014, whilst noting that Israel is not a State Party to the ICC.
The UK is a close friend of Israel and we enjoy an excellent bilateral relationship, built on decades of cooperation between our two countries across a range of fields. Our priority for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict remains the achievement of a two-state solution, based on 1967 borders. We continue to believe that negotiations will be necessary in order to achieve this, and that both parties need to focus on steps that are conducive to peace. The UK Government will reinforce this message to Mr Netanyahu during his visit.
— Stop the War (@STWuk) August 18, 2015
— Damanda C_Palestine (@amanda_damanda) August 16, 2015
John Vibes writes for True Activist and is an author, researcher and investigative journalist who takes a special interest in the counter-culture and the drug war.
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