Prime Minister David Cameron with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel, March 2014.

Prime Minister David Cameron with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel, March 2014.

Israel’s prime minister has criticised David Cameron after comments he made in the Commons over Israel’s occupation of east Jerusalem.

Responding to a question from an MP, Mr Cameron said that the “effective encirclement of east Jerusalem” by Israeli settlements was “shocking”. The Palestinians want east Jerusalem as the capital of their hoped-for state.

On Thursday, Benjamin Netanyahu said Mr Cameron “forgot a few basic facts about Jerusalem”.

He said that “only Israeli sovereignty” can protect Jerusalem’s holy places from ruin by “the Islamic State and Hamas”. He said that Israeli sovereignty over the city “protects the rule of law for Arab residents”.

Yesterday, The Mayor of Jerusalem, Nir Barkat hit back at Cameron’s description by suggesting the prime minister was “mistaken”.

Barkat’s, took umbrage at the PM’s criticism, suggesting Cameron was “mistaken due to his lack of knowledge of the facts and reality on the ground”.

In a spiked comment on Britain’s past involvement in the region, he added: “The condition of the residents of eastern Jerusalem is much better today than in all the countries surrounding us, certainly than during the time of the British Mandate.” 

Barkat then invited Cameron to tour the area “to advance links,” but the offer will do little to endear the prime minister, who has been a staunch supporter of Israel but who has consistently criticised settlement-building as an obstacle to peace.