Petition asks UK to arrest Netanyahu for war crimes

Petition asks UK to arrest Netanyahu for war crimes
A petition circulating on social media demands that the Israeli prime minster be arrested for war crimes upon his arrival to the UK in September.
2 min read
10 Aug, 2015
Netanyahu and former Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni [AFP]

A petition asking the UK authorities to arrest Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has been launched on the UK parliament website with over 22,000 signataries.

"Netanyahu is to hold talks in London this September. Under international law he should be arrested for war crimes upon arrival in the UK for the massacre of over 2,000 civilians in 2014," the petition reads.

Amnesty International released an investigation into the 2014 Gaza war and found "strong evidence" of Israeli war crimes.

This corroborated with testimonies from countless Palestinians who said that civilians were deliberately targeted during the seven-week assault last summer.

As the petition has over 10,000 signaturies, the UK government needs to respond to the petition within a day.

If the petition collects more than 100,000 signatures, it will be considered for debate in the UK parliament.

Although it is extremely unlikely that the UK government would arrest Netanyahu, a British court has previously issued an arrest warrant for Tzipi Livni, the former Israeli foreign minister.

This was related to "complicity in war crimes" during the 2008 Gaza war, known as Operation Cast Lead.

It was later annulled after it emerged that Livni was not in fact in the UK.

Under the Geneva Convention Act 1957, judges in the United Kingdom can issue arrest warrants for war crimes suspects without the need to consult public prosecutors.

According to Livni's office, Gordan Brown, who was prime minister at the time sought new legislative changes to ensure that no Israeli official would risk arrest while on British soil.

The Daily Telegraph reported that in response to the arrest the government considered legal reforms to prevent British courts from approving arrest warrants for visiting politicians and military officers accused of war crimes.