“Jerusalem, like London, is a city where every resident has the right to live where he wants and were discrimination based on religion, race or sex is prohibited,” said Mayor Nir Barkat in a press release on Thursday.
Barkat’s statement came in response to remarks made by British Prime Minister David Cameron on Wednesday, in which he stated that the UK does not support the actions of Israel in east Jerusalem in response to a question about London’s plans for the Palestinian issue.
“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,” British Media quoted Cameron as saying to parliament members in the House of Commons.
Barkat responded that “Britain is a great and important friend of Israel and Jerusalem, but Cameron is mistaken in his statements due to a lack of knowledge and facts of the reality on the ground.”
“What building in the east of the city is he shocked by?” asked Barkat. “By the new and advanced schools that we have built there? The new roads we are paving there? The child welfare clinics and community centers we have started there?”
The level of investment in the area is not found in any other country in the Middle East, claimed Barkat, “not in the Palestinian Territories, not in Syria and not in Iraq.”
“The status of east Jerusalem residents is better today than in any of the countries surrounding us, certainly better than in the time of the British Mandate.”
Barkat encouraged the British leader to come visit the city and see the improvements for himself.
“I invite Cameron, a true friend of Israel, to come on a tour with me to see the reduced social gaps in east Jerusalem and to work with us in promoting development and cooperation rather than build walls and barriers in the heart of Jerusalem,” said Barkat.