Avi Ohayon/GPO/Israel Sun 09-09-2015 PM Netanyahu & wife Sara leave for a formal visit to London

Avi Ohayon/GPO/Israel Sun 09-09-2015
PM Netanyahu & wife Sara leave for a formal visit to London

Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has left Israel for a formal visit to London.

The Israeli leader is set to land in London on Wednesday, where he will meet with the prime minister. 

It is understood that the Iranian nuclear deal and the impasse in the Israel-Palestine peace process will be key issues during the visit, just before Rosh Hashanah. 

A petition calling for the arrest of Israel’s prime minister for ‘war crimes’ passed 100,000 signatures. The UK government however announced that it will not arrest Israeli Prime Minister. A Foreign and Commonwealth Office statement read: “Under UK and international law, visiting head of government, such as Prime Minister Netanyahu, have immunity from legal process, and cannot be arrested or detained.”

Parliament considers all petitions that get more than 100,000 signatures for a debate. “We recognize 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,” the British government said. 

“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.”

Sir Eric Pickles, the former minister and current chairman of Conservative Friends of Israel, said the petition was “absurd” and would have “no impact” on relations between the two states. The Israeli embassy described it as a “meaningless publicity stunt”.