Friday, November 17, 2017

Campaigners in London urge government to arrest Israeli PM for war crimes


By Cath And - September 12, 2015
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Section: [Main News]
Tags: [BDS] [Nabi Saleh]

Protesters demonstrated outside UK Prime Minister David Cameron’s official residence in London this week to object to the arrival of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who was in the UK on an official visit.

The demonstration followed a petition on the UK Government and Parliament website which called on authorities to arrest Netanyahu for war crimes upon arrival in London, “for the massacre of over 2000 civilians in 2014” in Gaza.  

 

Any petition which gains more than 100,000 signatures on the website is considered by the U.K. parliament.  The petition currently has 108,657 signatures, and the parliament has responded that, “under UK and international law, visiting heads of foreign governments, such as Prime Minister Netanyahu, have immunity from legal process, and cannot be arrested or detained.”  

 

The Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC), who are organising the demonstration, have responded that although the government is unable to arrest Netanyahu, they must “impose immediate sanctions on Israel and an arms embargo on Israel until it complies with international law and ends the occupation and ends the siege on Gaza”.  

 

Riya Hassan of the Palestinian Campaign for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee (BNC), responded to the demonstration and the PSC’s campaign by stating that, "war criminals should be arrested and put on trial and this includes Israeli politicians and the CEOs of the companies that help Israel to violate international law."

 

Hassan went on to affirm that by inviting Netanyahu, the U.K. and other foreign governments are giving, “the green light to Israel's war crimes and it's system of apartheid and settler colonialism.” 

 

A group of UK union leaders, members of parliament, and public figures wrote an open letter to the Guardian newspaper linking Netanyahu’s visit to the current influx of refugees and migrants to Europe.  

 

They argue that among the refugees currently attempting to reach Europe, many are “Palestinians fleeing the hell that Israel has created in Gaza”.  Signatories of the letter say that while Cameron is restricting the entry of migrants and refugees into the UK, he is welcoming Netanyahu, a man responsible for the atrocities they are fleeing.  

 

In a statement on the demonstration, dated Sept. 7, the PSC asked, “why David Cameron is welcoming a man directly responsible for UN - identified war crimes to the UK. His welcome for Netanyahu sends out a very negative message about the UK government’s attitude towards Israel’s serial human rights abuses and the war crimes it committed in Gaza last year”.

 

Riya Hassan of the BNC confirmed that, “Israel must be shown that there is a price to pay for its war crimes against the Palestinian people. If the UK government is serious about contributing to an end to the siege on Gaza, it must end its support for Israel's violations of international law and take steps to hold it to account, starting by implementing a two-way arms embargo on Israel, a demand that has been backed by UK trade union leaders and MPs”.  

 

Amnesty International has also called for the UK to urge Netanyahu to lift the Gaza blockade, stating that, “David Cameron should tell the Israeli Prime Minister that Israel’s security concerns shouldn’t be used as an excuse to collectively punish, impoverish and humiliate 1.8 million people in Gaza.”

 

“David Cameron should be direct with Benjamin Netanyahu, telling him that Gaza’s suffering is unacceptable and must end now. Israel has an obligation to end its collective punishment of Gaza’s civilian population, and completely lifting the blockade is the right thing to do,” Amnesty continued.

 

 

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