— Rυтнαηαѕια ♯ƁƊS (@Ruthanasia) September 5, 2015
Update: 6:39:36 am GMT+1:
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Update: Homestretch countdown with only 262 more signatures to go, they are still rolling in @ 1:17 am GMT+1:
Update: Nightowls kickin’ it! Welcome to a new day in the UK. Countdown Sept.5, 2015 12:36 am GMT+1:
On August 7, UK citizen Damian Moran posted a petition on the UK Government and Parliament E-petition website calling for Netanyahu to “be arrested for war crimes upon arrival in the U.K for the massacre of over 2000 civilians in 2014”. The petition spread swiftly on social media internationally as signatures piled up by the thousands. At approximately 4:40 pm GMT+1 today, September 4th, the petition had garnered over 99,000 signatures and will likely reach 100,000 in the next several hours — less than one month from the petition’s posting.
Signatories are limited to British citizens or UK residents. The UK government promises a response on all petitions if and when they garner 10,000 signatures. At 100,000 the petition “will be considered for debate in Parliament”. Hence, the petition could be debated in the House of Commons. However, since the establishment of the UK Directgov E-Petition site two years ago, almost half the petitions submitted by the public have been flat out rejected, only 10 have gotten a response from the government, and thus far, none have resulted in a parliamentary debate.
The Guardian called these petitions “rarely more than a farce” (the url spells out “worse-than-useless”) and the chance this petition will be considered for debate for more than a split second are slim to none, and the chance the House of Commons will debate whether or not to arrest Netanyahu for war crimes is practically nil.
Still, people love this petition, I know I do. I’ve been checking it and watching the count rise all month. I have confidence, each and every British citizens who adds their signature to this petition, speaks vicariously for thousands of us from around the world who seek justice and accountability for war crimes committed, cumulatively representing millions of people from all walks of life.
So we’re hosting our own countdown.
As of this moment the number of signatories is 99,183. We will be updating that figure when we publish. And we’ll be adding a few screenshots as we get into the final stretch, while gratefully cheering on British citizens adding their signatures to this petition.
Update: Final countdown. 6:00 am GMT+1 – we’re down to double digits:
Update: 3:00 am GMT+1, we’re noticing a gradual slowdown. It is probable the British sleep:
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Following is the British Government’s response to the petition delivered last month accessed at the base of the petition:
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 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.
We recognise that the conflict in Gaza last year took a terrible toll. 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 the Prime Minister was clear on the UK’s recognition of Israel’s right to take proportionate action to defend itself, within the boundaries of international humanitarian law. We condemn the terrorist tactics of Hamas who fired rockets on Israel, built extensive tunnels to kidnap and murder, and repeatedly refused to accept ceasefires. Israel, like any state, has the right to ensure its own security, as its citizens also have the right to live without fear of attack.
The UK consistently urged Israel to do everything possible to avoid civilian casualties, to exercise restraint, and to help find ways to bring the situation to an end. The UK continues to urge the parties to give priority to reaching a durable solution for Gaza which addresses the underlying drivers of conflict, and to take the necessary practical steps to ensure Gaza’s reconstruction and economic recovery.
We welcome the fact that Israel is conducting internal investigations into specific incidents during Operation Protective Edge. Where there is evidence of wrongdoing those responsible must be held accountable whatever their position in society. Both parties must also demonstrate robust and credible internal investigations which are in line with international standards. We have also encouraged the Israeli authorities, as we do all countries, to cooperate with the independent Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) regarding the preliminary examination into the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories since 13 June, 2014, whilst noting that Israel is not a State Party to the ICC.
The UK is a close friend of Israel and we enjoy an excellent bilateral relationship, built on decades of cooperation between our two countries across a range of fields. Our priority for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict remains the achievement of a two-state solution, based on 1967 borders. We continue to believe that negotiations will be necessary in order to achieve this, and that both parties need to focus on steps that are conducive to peace. The UK Government will reinforce this message to Mr Netanyahu during his visit.