British Parliament declines debate on anti-Netanyahu petition


(JTA) — The British Parliament declined to debate a petition that called for the arrest of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for war crimes.

The petition received more than the necessary 100,000 signatures to trigger the debate in the House of Commons before Netanyahu’s visit to Britain last week.

On Wednesday, a House of Commons’ Petitions Committee spokeswoman told the London-based Jewish Chronicle that because the petition called for action that was not permitted under international or British law, the government would take no further action.

The online petition garnered nearly 112,000 signatures as of Wednesday after being uploaded on Aug. 7 to the Parliament’s official website.

“Under international law he should be arrested for war crimes upon arrival in the U.K. for the massacre of over 2000 civilians in 2014,” the petition says, citing Netanyahu’s visit last week.

Responding to the petition prior to Netanyahu’s visit, the British government said that under U.K. and international law, the visiting heads of foreign governments, like Netanyahu, have immunity from the legal process, and cannot be arrested or detained.”

“We recognize that the conflict in Gaza last year took a terrible toll,” the government said. “As the prime minister said, we were all deeply saddened by the violence and the U.K. has been at the forefront of international reconstruction efforts. However, the prime minister was clear on the U.K.’s recognition of Israel’s right to take proportionate action to defend itself, within the boundaries of international humanitarian law.”

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