Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu responded to comments made by his British counterpart David Cameron, who in recent comments described as "genuinely shocking" the presence of Jewish neighborhoods in eastern Jerusalem, which he branded "illegal settlements."
In responding to that statement, Netanyahu noted that Cameron has on the whole been a staunch supporter of the State of Israel in the face of constant attacks on its existence by its enemies, but insisted the British PM was fundamentally wrong in his condemnation of Israel's sovereignty in its own capital city.
"My friend David Cameron, who is undoubtedly a friend of Israel, seems to have forgotten some basic facts about Jerusalem," said Netanyahu, who continued to note that rather than an "occupier" in Jerusalem, Israel is its protector.
"Only Israeli sovereignty prevents ISIS and Hamas from igniting the holy sites, as they do throughout the Middle East."
Responding to the notion, raised by Cameron, that Jewish neighborhoods were somehow "encircling" Arab neighborhoods as part of some nefarious plot, Netanyahu fired back: "Only Israeli sovereignty guarantees for the city’s Arab residents roads, clinics, places of employment and all other necessities their brethren throughout the Middle East do not enjoy.
"Only Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem preserves the rule of law for the Arab citizens, and for all of us – something which does not exist in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Libya, and large parts of the Arab world, including the Palestinian Authority and the Gaza Strip.
"Only Israeli sovereignty ensures all this, and it is important that our European friends remember this simple fact."
Netanyahu's response followed sharp criticism of Cameron from the Mayor of Jerusalem.
In a Facebook post, Mayor Nir Barkat slammed the British PM's comments, sardonically contrasting Israel's own record in Jerusalem with the city's status under British occupation.