Barkat to Cameron: East Jerusalem Much Better Off Than Under British Mandate

Jerusalem mayor rebuffs Cameron's 'shocking' reaction to East Jerusalem settlement construction, invites him to visit and see reduction of inequality.

Olivier Fitoussi

The Mayor of Jerusalem Nir Barkat refuted British Prime Minister David Cameron's condemnation of construction in the east part of the city, saying he was "mistaken due to his lack of knowledge of the facts and reality on the ground."

The construction, stated Barkat, was of schools, roads, baby clinics and community centers. "The condition of the resident of eastern Jerusalem is much better today than in all the countries surrounding us, certainly than during the time of the British Mandate," he said.

Cameron called construction in East Jerusalem "genuinely shocking" in response to a query from a Labour MP during during a parliamentary question period on Wednesday. He also condemned what he said was the "effective encirclement of East Jerusalem."

The mayor recommended that Britain adopt the model of a unified Jerusalem, adding that this is what "the majority of its Arab residents prefer too, as international surveys conducted recently in the city show."

"In Jerusalem, as in London, every resident has the right to live anywhere they so desire, and discrimination based on religion, race and gender is forbidden!" he said.

Nir Barkat in the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem, 2015.
Amit Shabi

Barkat invited Cameron to come on a tour that shows the reduction of inequality in East Jerusalem, and "advance along with us links, development and regional cooperation." 

Last week, Britain adopted guidelines to prevent local councils and other publicly funded bodies from boycotting goods from Israel or any other country.

Boycotts against Israeli produce and Israeli companies have been imposed by several British cities.

The new guidelines have been promoted by Cameron's Conservative government for a variety of reasons, including internal political struggles with the country's Labour Party, led by Jeremy Corbyn.

Corbyn and his advisers support boycotts of foreign countries – including Israel, due to the occupation, China, for its human rights violations, and Russia, due to its invasion of Ukraine.