A Derry man’s online petition to have Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrested for war crimes when he arrives in London later today has garnered over 100,000 signatures, not to mention huge worldwide interest.
People the length and breadth of the UK have signed Damian Moran’s online petition demanding Mr Netanyahu’s arrest for war crimes against the people of Gaza during last year’s brutal offensive that killed nearly 2,300 Palestinian people, 500 of them children, wounded 11,500 and displaced over 500,000 people.
The Israel PM is due in London later today to discuss the Iranian nuclear deal and the impasse in the Israel-Palestine peace process with British Prime Minister David Cameron.
The petition, published on the UK Parliament website, demands the PM’s arrest upon arrival for “the massacre of over 2,000 civilians in 2014” and has amassed well over 100,000 signatures since it went live three weeks ago. Since signatures have surpassed 100,000, Parliament may debate the issue.
Thirty-eight-year-old Damian – who grew up in the Rosemount area of Derry but now lives and works in Manchester - says he started the petition as soon as he heard that Mr Netanyahu was coming to the UK.
“I never really understood the Palestine conflict until about 10 years ago when I did some actual research on it and was horrified by what I found,” he said. “Being from Northern Ireland I could empathise greatly with Palestinians, with all the horrors they faced, although they face much deadlier scenarios than we had here growing up.”
Damian has been at the centre of a media storm since the petition went viral, with the petition covered widely in Israel and the Middle East and even making the headlines on Al Jazeera and Russia Today.
“I am delighted with the response as it is bringing this issue to the forefront and into the light,” he said. “I don’t expect anything to happen as he falls under Universal Jurisdiction which means he cannot be detained, but it sends a clear message the he is not welcome in the UK and that we haven’t forgotten.”
A spokesperson for the Israel Foreign Ministry dismissed the petition as a “meaningless” publicity stunt.
The petition is available here: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/105446.