British PM describes Gaza as an 'open air prison'

Prime Minister David Cameron

Prime Minister David Cameron

Prime Minister David Cameron today described Gaza as a "prison camp". Speaking on an official visit to Turkey, he said: The situation in Gaza has to change. Humanitarian goods and people must flow in both both directions. Gaza cannot and must not be allowed to remain a prison camp."

Mr Cameron also denounced Israel's attack on the Turkish-led aid flotilla to Gaza in May, calling it "completely unacceptable."

Speaking later at a press conference Cameron said: "I speak as someone who is a friend of Israel", but he went on to describe Gaza as "a sort of open-air prison.

In his speech to business leaders in Ankara, Cameron defended Turkish membership of the European Union, depict Turkey as a bridge between Europe and the Islamic world.   

Cameron also said he believed Turkey could have an influence on Iran. "It's Turkey that can help us stop Iran from getting the bomb", he said.

Last month, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg described Israel's blockade of Gaza as a "human catastrophe" and called for it to be lifted.

Speaking on the  BBC's Today programme, Clegg said Israel had "every right" to protect itself from terrorism.  "However, is it in Israel's long-term security interest to have so many people confined in that way? No, I don't think it is - and what I ask my Israeli friends and Israeli politicians and officials I meet is, 'What's the strategy? Where do you go next?, How are you going to secure in the long term, not just day to day, the security which you rightly crave?

"It (the blockade) is an absolute humanitarian catastrophe, and we should acknowledge it as such, but it is also not in Israel's own long-term self-interest".

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