Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has accused Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron of “forgetting” that only Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem is keeping Islamic extremism at bay and safeguarding the city’s holy places from destruction by terrorists.

Cameron, long a firm public supporter of Israel, on Wednesday castigated Israel in remarks in the House of Commons for its “shocking” construction of Jewish homes in and around contested East Jerusalem, at the expense of the Palestinians.

Netanyahu, hitting back, said Cameron had evidently forgotten that “only Israeli sovereignty prevents Islamic State and Hamas from setting aflame the holy places in the city, as they are doing across the Middle East.”

Furthermore, Netanyahu added, “only Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem ensures the rule of law for Arab residents and for all.”

Netanyahu made his comments at a parlour meeting with a local council chief, rather than in an official statement, but ensured that they were recorded on camera, Israel’s Channel 2 reported. Israel’s Foreign Ministry had refused to respond to Cameron’s remarks throughout Thursday, because of the British prime minister’s long record of friendship with Israel, and because he had been answering a “provocative” question raised by a Muslim member of Parliament, the Israeli TV report said.

Read more at Times of Israel