Israeli PM slams Cameron over east Jerusalem remark

Jerusalem, Feb 26 (IANS): Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu slammed his British counterpart David Cameron, a day after the latter criticised Israel's expansion of Jewish settlements in east Jerusalem.

Netanyahu on Thursday accused Cameron of "forgetting" that the Israeli control was safeguarding the holy city from the radical Islam, Xinhua reported.

"Cameron, who is undoubtedly a friend of Israel, seems to have forgotten some basic facts about Jerusalem," Netanyahu said at a conference of his Likud party in the southern city of Ofakim.

"Only Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem is preventing the Islamic State and Hamas from setting fire to the holy sites in the city, as they do elsewhere in the Middle East," he said.

On Wednesday, Cameron slammed the Israeli construction in east Jerusalem, a predominantly Palestinian area.

"I am well known for being a strong friend of Israel, but I have to say the first time I visited Jerusalem and had a proper tour around that wonderful city and saw what had happened with the effective encirclement of east Jerusalem, occupied east Jerusalem, it is genuinely shocking," Cameron told the British parliament during a question session.

Israel occupied the West Bank and the Gaza Strip during the 1967 Mideast War, and later annexed east Jerusalem, in a move condemned by the international community.

The Jewish settlements in the Palestinian territory are illegal under international law and the international community opposes them, saying their construction undermines prospects of establishing a Palestinian state alongside Israel.

A surge of Palestinian uprising, including frequent stabbing, car-ramming and shooting attacks, started in Jerusalem in mid-September over visiting rights to a site holy to both Muslims and Jews.

The violence quickly spread to Israel and the rest of the West Bank, and has so far claimed the lives of at least 170 Palestinians and 28 Israelis.


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