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February 25, 2016 5:22 pm

Jerusalem Mayor Rejects British PM’s Blasting Israel Over ‘Encircled, Occupied’ Eastern Part of City

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Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat. Photo: Wikipedia.

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat. Photo: Wikipedia.

The mayor of Jerusalem rejected the British prime minister’s harsh criticism of Israel over construction in the eastern part of the Holy City, Israel Radio reported on Thursday.

Mayor Nir Barkat took issue with remarks made Wednesday PM David Cameron, who — during a weekly question-and-answer session at the British Parliament – said, “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.”

Barkat responded on Thursday by asserting that most of the Arab residents of Jerusalem prefer the city to remain unified. He also noted that their situation is better than that of the residents of the Palestinian Authority and of the citizens of most Arab states.

According to Israel Radio, Barkat extended an invitation to Cameron to accompany him on a tour of east Jerusalem, to see for himself the modern schools, maternal health centers and roads that have been built there since his last visit.

Jerusalem, which Cameron does not dispute is the capital of Israel, was unified after the eastern part of the city was annexed following the Six Day War in 1967. The Palestinian Authority claims it as the capital of a future Palestinian state.

The international community has frequently called Israel to task for construction in Jerusalem neighborhoods it deems contentious and an integral part of negotiations leading to a two-state solution.

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  • Michael Levy

    I am really upset and disappointed in Cameron. He had to find a reason to blast Israel on something. He is obviously as short sighted as his other counterparts regarding the situation in Israel. I really thought that he (Cameron) was a clever person but it just goes to show that anti-Semitism knows no bounds,

  • Carl

    What was shocking was the fence separating the eastern part of Jerusalem from the rest of the city during the Jordanian occupation from 1948-1967. Jordan’s destruction of priceless antiquities and holy sites throughout the Jewish quarter was shocking. Even more shocking was the Arab desecration of ancient Jewish graves using tombstones for latrines. Seeing the holy city of Jerusalem unified once again, vibrant, and restored to glory is nothing short of miraculous.

  • Paul Grad

    British-occupied Wales. British-occupied Scotland. British-occupied Northern Ireland.

  • Andria Switzer

    It’s nonsense to consider Jerusalem will ever be divided, name any country that would vacate half its capital, would allow viscious enemy to inhabit its Neighborhood and see its friends suggest suicide, seems that’s what’s happening here.

  • Improving the infrastructure for the Arab sector is of the highest importance. It hasn’t been a priority in the past. How the Jerusalem Arabs fared under the British or how Arabs fare today in other states is completely irrelevant. Jerusalem Arabs must be made to feel they are not second-class citizens. Only then will they want to remain part of Israel. Once that occurs, the wind will be blown out of the sails of those who criticize Israel and who want Jerusalem to be divided.