DAVID Cameron squirmed as he was confronted with his own words describing how Israel refused to restore Gaza’s water supplies – as he insisted the country had not committed war crimes.

Facing his first question-and-answer session with MPs since his surprise appointment as Foreign Secretary late last year, Lord Cameron admitted he worried whether Israel’s actions were in line with international humanitarian law.

But he insisted he had not been given any legal advice the country was committing war crimes.

Speaking at the Foreign Affairs Committee, Lord Cameron said: “You see lots of things and [ask], ‘Well, is that in line with international [humanitarian law]… is that?’

“So that’s a process that the Foreign Office has to go through to look at those instances to put questions as part of this process to the Israeli authorities, to consider those answers and to give me the considered advice, given all that, does that mean we think that Israel is in breach of human rights…international humanitarian law.”

But he was confronted by SNP MP Brendan O’Hara (below), who read back comments the Foreign Secretary had made earlier in the session, in which Lord Cameron had said he wanted Israel to restore Gaza’s water supply.

The National:

It is illegal for occupying states to cut off supplies of the countries or areas under occupation and Lord Cameron also earlier told MPs Israel was “de facto” occupying Gaza.

O’Hara said: “About two or three minutes ago you said to the chair, and I quote: ‘One of the things we’d like the Israelis to do is switch the water back on.

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“Now that says that they turned it off. It says that you recognise that they have the power to turn it on. Therefore, isn’t turning water off and having the ability to turn it back on but choosing not to, isn’t that a breach of international humanitarian law?”

Lord Cameron replied: “It’s just something they ought to do, in my opinion.”

He went on to say that he was not a lawyer and so could not comment.

The National: Alicia Kearns

Committee chair Alicia Kearns (above) pressed the former prime minister further, asking: “You’ve never had a piece of paper put in front of you by a Foreign Office lawyer that says that Israel is in breach of international humanitarian commitments, under international humanitarian law?”

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Lord Cameron replied: “Look, the reason for not answering this question, I can’t recall every single bit of paper that’s put in front of me. I look at everything.

“I mean, of course, there are lots of things that have happened, where you think ‘Well, surely that is, that was something that shouldn’t have happened’.

“So I don’t want to answer that question.”

Kearns, the Tory MP for Rutland, interrupted: “Forgive me, in 2013 you were quite happy to say from the despatch box that war crimes had been committed by the Assad regime when it came to chemical weapons use and two years later you were happy to say that Hamas had committed a war crime when they shot rockets into Israel.”

The Foreign Secretary insisted her examples were not comparable to the actions of Israel but added: “If you’re asking me, am I worried that Israel has taken action that might be in breach of international law because this particular premises has been bombed or whatever? Yes of course I’m worried about that and that’s why I consult the Foreign Office lawyers when giving this advice on arms exports.”

It comes after South Africa accused Israel at a UN court of having committed genocide in Gaza