Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) and British PM David Cameron in Jerusalem last year. (Amos Ben Gershom/GPO/Flash90) (Amos Ben Gershom/GPO/Flash90)
Netanyahu and Cameron
Anti Israel demonstrators

Anti-Israel demonstrators. (AP/Benjamin Girette)

Israel dismissed as a PR stunt a petition to arrest Prime Minister Netanyahu for alleged war crimes upon his arrival in the UK next month. 

An online petition has been launched in the United Kingdom demanding that Scotland Yard arrest Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for alleged war crimes upon his arrival in London in September.

The petition’s author, Damian Moran, alleged that international law dictates that Netanyahu should be detained for “the massacre of over 2,000 civilians in 2014.”

The petition is featured on the British Parliament’s official site and appears as one of many e-petitions. As of Wednesday morning, some 39,000 have added their support to the outrageous demand. The government responds to all petitions that get more than 10,000 signatures, but has yet to do so in this case.

Since Netanyahu is a sitting prime minister with diplomatic immunity, there is no chance he will be arrested under universal jurisdiction laws, the Jerusalem Post commented.

There have been previous attempts by anti-Israel activists to have Israeli officials and senior IDF officers apprehended upon arrival in Great Britain.

In late June, former defense minister and IDF chief of staff Shaul Mofaz was nearly arrested when he visited London. At the time, Mofaz was greeted at the airport by two Israeli diplomats. His arrest was avoided after swift action by the Israeli embassy in London and the British embassy in Israel.

A PR Stunt

Israel believes the Cameron government will not allow a debate on this issue and views the petition merely as a public-relations stunt.

The petition was “a Public Relations exercise with no real meaning. Bilateral ties between Britain and Israel are closer than ever before, as evidenced by data on mutual trade, doubled in recent years, and by cooperation in academic studies, culture and science between the two countries.” Foreign Ministry Spokesman Emmanuel Nachshon said in a statement.

The ministry said that any person can initiate such a petition on the parliament’s site. In fact, they point to a running petition calling for on the legalizing of drugs that garnered 200,000 signatures and another, with 40,000 supporters, calling for the price of milk to be regulated.

Netanyahu will depart for London at the beginning of September to meet with British Prime Minister David Cameron regarding Israel’s vigorous opposition to the Iran nuclear deal signed and other issues of mutual interest.

By: Max Gelber, United with Israel