Protests Planned in London for Netanyahu's Visit This Week

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British PM David Cameron (L) and Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu meet in London in May 2011. Credit: Amos Ben Gershom/GPO

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's planned visit to the United Kingdom this week has aroused a storm in the host country, with over 100,000 people signing a petition calling for his arrest on war crimes charges and a large demonstration planned for London to coincide with the visit.

In a letter published in the Guardian newspaper on Monday, a group of union leaders, Labor Party parliamentarians and prominent left-wingers called on Prime Minister David Cameron to "impose immediate sanctions and an arms embargo on Israel until it complies with international law and ends the blockade and the occupation."

“Our prime minister should not be welcoming the man who presides over Israel’s occupation and its siege on Gaza," according to the signatories of the letter, who included trade union chief Len McCluskey, film director Ken Loach and Israeli-born historian Ilan Pappe.

Israel, the letter charged, has created “hell” in Gaza, and that Palestinians fleeing the situation were "among refugees who had drowned in the Mediterranean this year.”

The British government did not respond to the letter, though in a statement issued on Sunday in response to the petition it said that Netanyahu would have immunity as a visiting head of government.

“We want to know why David Cameron is welcoming a man directly responsible for UN-identified war crimes to the U.K.," the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) said in a press release/

“[Cameron’s] welcome for Netanyahu sends out a very negative message about the UK government’s attitude towards Israel’s serial human rights abuses and the war crimes it committed in Gaza last year."

Protesters from all around the U.K. are expected to gather in London on Wednesday to express their rejection to the government’s welcome of Netanyahu, the Palestinian news service WAFA reported.

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