Hundreds of protesters blocked the road outside 10 Downing Street as David Cameron met his “close friend” Benjamin Netanyahu.

Robin Beste

THERE WAS widespread outrage when it was announced that Benjamin Netanyahu was coming to London on 9 September 2015 for an official state visit, in which he would have cordial meetings with the UK prime minister David Cameron.

A parliamentary petition signed by 109,000 people called for Netanyahu to be arrested on arrival for war crimes under international law, and specifically for the massacre in 2014 of over 2200 civilians, including more than 500 children.

The petition was ignored, even though it was elligible for discussion by MPs in parliament.

Appeals by human rights campaign groups were also ignored. Amnesty International called on David Cameron to alter the UK’s foreign policy on Israel and tell Netanyahu:

To stop using “security concerns” as an “excuse to collectively punish, impoverish and humiliate 1.8 million people in Gaza. He should be direct with Benjamin Netanyahu, telling him that Gaza’s suffering is unacceptable and must now end. Israel has an obligation to end its collective punishment of Gaza’s civilian population and completely lifting the blockade is the right thing to do.

Trade union leaders, MPs, campaigners and leading figures from the world of the arts also called on the prime minister to change Britain’s policy towards Israel:

Palestinians fleeing the hell that Israel has created in Gaza are among the thousands of refugees who have drowned in the Mediterranean in the last year. Our prime minister should not be welcoming the man who presides over Israel’s occupation and its siege of Gaza. We call on him to instead impose immediate sanctions and an arms embargo on Israel until it complies with international law and ends the blockade and the occupation.

They too were ignored.

To all the critics condemning an official welcome given to a political leader responsible for mass murder and repeated violations of international law, the government replied:

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.

And what does this “bilateral relationship” entail? One year on from the Gaza mass slaughter, the UK is still arming Israel, even to the extent of collusion in trading illegal arms used in Gaza.

No doubt this is a lucrative trade for British and Israeli merchants of war, but how does David Cameron justify their use by one of the world’s most powerful militaries against a virtually defenseless and impoverished population crammed into the largest open air prison on earth?

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 (sic)… 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.

As David Cameron was meeting his “close friend” Netanyahu, hundreds of protesters blocked the road outside the prime minister’s residence 10 Downing Street. They included many Jews showing solidarity with the Palestinian people, and who also objected to Netanyahu’s belief that Israel represents all of world Jewry.

The dramatic worldwide growth in the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement will continue as long as Israel shows itself to be a pariah among states and has leaders like Benjamin Netanyahu, who is, in the words of Matt Carr, one of the most repellent and dangerous politicians in the world today

Source: Stop the War Coalition

10 Sep 2015

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