Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu is due to visit Britain next month for talks with David Cameron.

A petition posted on the UK government and parliament website calling for him to be arrested for war crimes has attracted more than 80,000 signatures (86,909 at time of writing).

Benjamin Netanyahu is to hold talks in London this September. Under international law he should be arrested for war crimes upon arrival in the UK for the massacre of over 2,000 civilians in 2014.

The petition refers to the 2,200 Palestinians who died during Israel's conflict with Hamas last summer. Most of the dead were civilians, many of them children.

Earlier this year, a report by the United Nations concluded that both Israel and Hamas may have been responsible for carrying out war crimes - something they both rejected.

Once a petition reaches 100,000 signatures, it is considered for debate in Parliament, but the government has pre-empted that by ruling out Netanyahu's arrest on the grounds he is a visiting head of a foreign government, and has immunity from legal process under UK and international law.

A section of the response says:

We recognise 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. 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.

It goes on to say:

The UK consistently urged Israel to do everything possible to avoid civilian casualties, to exercise restraint, and to help find ways to bring the situation to an end. The UK continues to urge the parties to give priority to reaching a durable solution for Gaza which addresses the underlying drivers of conflict, and to take the necessary practical steps to ensure Gaza’s reconstruction and economic recovery.

You can read the full response here. has contacted the person who set up the petition to get their reaction.

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