British Prime Minster David Cameron on Wednesday blasted Israeli settlement construction in east Jerusalem as "genuinely shocking" and called for the reversal of further building plans, according to British media.
While Cameron underlined that he was a staunch ally of Israel's, he noted that the UK does not support what he called "illegal settlements."
"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 has happened with the effective encirclement of east Jerusalem, occupied east Jerusalem, it is genuinely shocking," the UK's Independent quoted him as saying to parliament members in the House of Commons.
The British prime minister reportedly made the remarks in response to a question by Labour MP Imram Hussain about London's plans on the Palestinian issue.
According to the Independent
, Hussain asked the prime minister what actions the government was taking "to prevent the infringement into Palestinian lives and land.”
In response, Cameron was quoted by British media as saying: “What this government has consistently done and gone on doing is saying yes, we are supporters of Israel, but we do not support illegal settlements, we do not support what is happening in east Jerusalem and it’s very important that this capital city is maintained in the way that it was in the past."
While the UK has repeatedly condemned Israeli plans
for building over the Green Line, earlier in February, Israel hailed a tough British move against boycotts as a welcome step in the fight against discrimination against the Jewish state.
The PLO said it perpetuated the “tragedy” that began when Britain issued the Balfour Declaration a century ago.
Visiting UK Cabinet Office Minister Matthew Hancock announced that “we are publishing new guidance for public authorities in the UK that makes clear that discriminating against members of the WTO [World Trade Organization], including Israel, is wrong and it is illegal and it must stop.”
The British government issued the guidance making clear that “procurement boycotts by public authorities are inappropriate.”Herb Keinon contributed to this report.