LONDON: “Anti-apartheid campaigners” have called for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to be arrested for war crimes on Friday, as he met with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak at 10 Downing Street in London, organizers said.
This comes after the International Center of Justice for Palestinians called on the British government to refer Israel to the International Criminal Court for war crimes in Palestine.
“Netanyahu has violated the laws of war several times during his 15 years as Israeli prime minister, constituting war crimes under international law,” said Friends of Al-Aqsa, a UK-based nongovernmental organization concerned with defending the human rights of Palestinians and protecting the Al-Aqsa sanctuary.
“For 15 years, Netanyahu has personally overseen the ethnic cleansing of Palestinian towns and villages and the targeted killing of Palestinian men, women and children living under illegal Israeli occupation…Today, we are holding him to account for these war crimes” said Shamiul Joarder, head of public affairs at FOA.
“The ICC has issued an arrest warrant for Putin, but what about Netanyahu? Sunak should be holding Netanyahu to account, not signing agreements to strengthen ties with an apartheid state and welcoming a war criminal to Downing Street.”
FOA said that Netanyahu’s visit comes after a “2030 roadmap for UK-Israel relations” was signed earlier this week.
“Yet the first three months of 2023 have seen some of the worst Israeli violence against Palestinians in decades, (and) Israeli soldiers and settlers have killed at least 89 Palestinians, including 15 children,” the NGO said.
FOA added that Israel’s attacks on residential buildings in Gaza under Netanyahu’s premiership in the summer of 2021 and 2022 were widely condemned as war crimes.
“These brutal bombardments killed 66 Palestinian children and on May 16, 2021, Israel deliberately targeted two residential buildings of the Abu Al-Ouf and Al-Kolaq families, killing 30 family members including 11 children.
“Israel’s use of live ammunition against Palestinians who posed no imminent threat to life at the Great March of Return protests in 2018 and 2019 — including medics and journalists — has also been widely condemned as a war crime under international law,” it added.
“Netanyahu also oversaw Israel’s attacks on Gaza in 2014, which left 1,000 Palestinian children permanently disabled.”