A Derry man’s petition calling for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's arrest for war crimes has received over 100,000 signatures.
Netanyahu was in London last week for talks with British Prime Minister David Cameron.
Damian Moran, a software developer from Derry now living in Manchester, started the petition on the government’s official petitions website calling for Netanyahu to be arrested during his state visit to Britain.
“I honestly don’t expect him to get arrested because of the universal jurisdiction laws [but] it is a clear message to him that there’s a massive amount of people who don’t want him here.” Moran told the Arabic news station Al Jazeera.
The petition, which was started on August 7, quickly surpassed the 10,000 signatures needed to warrant an official response from the government, the Irish Post reports.
“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 British Government’s responded.
“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.”
The statement did acknowledge what it called the terrible toll of last year’s Gaza conflict.
“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, now that the petition has reached over 100,000 signatures, it can considered for debate in Parliament.
Moran tweeted: “Well done everyone who signed and shared the petition the Apartheid state of Israel now has a clear message from the people of the U.K.”