Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu joined the Israeli response to British Prime Minister David Cameron’s comment on Wednesday that Israel’s encirclement of east Yerushalayim was “genuinely shocking.”
Netanyahu shot back on Thursday, saying that Cameron has apparently forgotten some basic facts about Yerushalayim. Besides preventing Islamic State and Hamas from destroying it, he said, “only Israeli sovereignty ensures that Arab residents of the city have roads, clinics, places of employment and all the other means of normal life that their brothers do not enjoy throughout the Middle East.”
Netanyahu softened his remarks by first describing the British prime minister as “without a doubt a friend of Israel.”
Earlier in the day, Yerushalayim Mayor Nir Barkat said that Cameron’s impression of the city was “mistaken.”
Cameron was quoted in the British Independent as telling parliamentarians that Israel had “effectively encircled” that “wonderful city” with “illegal” communities, referring to the Jewish neighborhoods in areas of the city liberated in the 1967 Six-Day War.
“What was it that shocked Cameron — the construction of brand new schools in Arab neighborhoods with the latest technology that we are building there? The new roads we are paving there? The baby wellness clinics and community centers we established?” asked Barkat rhetorically.