Joey Barton weighs in on middle-east conflict

Footballer Joey Barton has encouraged Israeli and Palestinian leaders to “sit down and man up” to end the conflict.

Writing in the Big Issue, the Queen’s Park Rangers midfielder, currently on-loan to French side Marseille, claimed Israel did not have the right to defend itself simply “because a book said so”.

He added: “So there are a group of Jews out there, with extreme beliefs, that think the Old Testament is all fact, which means that Israel belongs to the Jews and the Palestinians must give all of the land back to them, as this book is, of course, the law.

“Now, come on, if someone turned up at my house and said that they had found a book saying my house belonged to them, I would have my lawyers rip them a new a***hole.”

Questioning “when it will all end”, Mr Barton said both sides were in the wrong, but claimed Palestinian terrorist attacks had been used for propaganda by Israel and had led to “Jews chucking settlements on the Arabs’ land and persecuting them”.

Mr Barton has one cap for England and has twice been sentenced to jail for violent assaults.

Last updated: 6:45pm, December 6 2012