An online petition that is calling for the British government to arrest Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has attracted more than 40,000 signatures in a few days with campaigners hoping public support for the proposal could force a debate on the subject in parliament.
Netanyahu is scheduled to meet British Prime Minister David Cameron for talks in September when among other matters he is expected to issue his objections over the nuclear deal with Iran.
The petition, published on the British parliament’s website, has a very short text.
“Benjamin Netanyahu is to hold talks in London this September,” the statement reads. “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.”
Israel launched a 51-day offensive on the Gaza Strip last summer, killing over 2,200 Palestinians. The majority of those killed were civilians, including 539 children.
Amnesty International published a report into the summer war, dubbed Operation Protective Edge by the Israelis, saying that based on testimonials, field research it found “strong evidence” of Israeli war crimes.
According to British law, any petition that has over 10,000 signatures must be met with a response from the government. If a petition has over 100,000 signatures, the topic at hand must be officially considered by parliament for debate.
As of 1300 GMT on 12 August, the petition had attracted more than 40,000 signatures. more