Soccer - Barclays Premier League - Chelsea v Newcastle United - Stamford BridgeYossi Benayoun has labelled his former teammate Joey Barton as ‘stupid’ and ’embarrassing’ in response to a tweet he made about the Middle East crisis.

The midfielders played together at QPR last season, though have now hit out at each other on social media concerning the escalating violence in Israel and Gaza.

Having rejoined Maccabi Haifa in the summer, Benayoun captained the side in a pre-season friendly last week, which was marred by a pitch invasion from pro-Palestinian supporters.Benayoun and his Haifa colleagues were caught up in several scuffles on the pitch, and the following day he released a statement saying how they were right to defend themselves.

However, Barton posted a series of tweets on Friday which read: “‘If this was anybody else but Israel the West would intervene, it cannot continue. Innocent children being slaughtered. This must stop. How can a God stand by and watch this? Or even condone this? Is this all part of his master plan? The UN attempting to evacuate the school when the bombing took place? Asked IDF (The Israel Defense Force) for window to evacuate. Not given. Children die as a result. ‘This is not war. These are not combatants. They are just innocent children. This is ethnic cleansing.’

Benayoun responded to his tweets, saying: “Mate things can never changed you have been stupid and you will stay stupid all your life..embarrassing.”

But Barton hit back, saying: “Firstly, you cannot call somebody stupid with such bad grammar. Secondly, you cannot and should not kill innocent children. Thirdly, you cannot remove people from their land because a fictional book from thousands of years ago tells you can. Last but not least, I hope you and your family are safe and well and remain so through this terrible time.”

He continued: ‘Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is impotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?”

The simmering row between has seemingly calmed down somewhat, as Barton took to twitter again later on in the day to tell his followers “I have spoken to Yossi Benayoun multiple times over the course of the day. We disagree on certain things but our friendship remains.”