Parliament rejects debate on Benjamin Netanyahu arrest petition


Parliament will not debate a petition which called for the arrest of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for alleged war crimes, despite more than 100,000 people backing it.

The House of Commons’ Petitions Committee said it would not hold a debate in Westminster Hall on the issue following Mr Netanyahu’s visit to Britain last week.

A committee spokeswoman said that because the petition called for action which was not possible for the government to take under international or UK law, no further action would be taken.

Heads of foreign governments have diplomatic immunity in Britain, meaning Mr Netanyahu could not be arrested when he came to London last week.

The spokeswoman said the committee had noted the request made by the petition. She added that backbench MPs who wanted to debate the war crimes allegation may be able to do so by applying to the Backbench Business Committee.

Almost 112,000 have now signed the petition, enough to have triggered a debate.

There were a series of anti-Israel protests in Whitehall during Mr Netanyahu’s visit.

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