A British politician sparks a new row as he tweeted – “The big question is – if I lived in #Gaza would I fire a rocket? – probably yes”.
A Lib Dem MP has been accused of making comments on social media about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
David Ward tweeted on Tuesday: “The big question is – if I lived in #Gaza would I fire a rocket? – probably yes”.
Mr Ward was suspended from the Lib Dem parliamentary party in July 2013 and had the whip withdrawn for three months over comments he made about Israel, BBC reported. A Lib Dem spokesman said the MP’s remarks would be treated as a disciplinary issue.
Mr Ward’s comments came as the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon urged Israel and the Palestinians to “stop fighting” and “start talking” to end the conflict in Gaza. More than 600 Palestinians and 30 Israelis have been killed in the past 14 days of fighting, officials say.
The MP for Bradford East commented on the crisis in a series of tweetson Wednesday. In a follow-up message, he stated: “”Ich bin ein #palestinian – the West must make up its mind – which side is it on?”
Labour said the tweet was a “vile comment from a desperate Lib Dem MP”.
A spokesman said: “At a time when all sides should be working for a ceasefire and a peaceful settlement, it defies belief that a Liberal Democrat MP should tweet something so vile and irresponsible.”
Tory chairman Grant Shapps urged Mr Ward to withdraw the “appalling” comments.
He said: “No MP should tweet what’s essentially incitement to violence. Completely irresponsible.”
A Lib Dem spokesman said: “Nick Clegg has been at the forefront of calling for peace in Israel and Gaza.
“We utterly condemn David Ward’s comments, they are not representative of the Liberal Democrats.
“The party takes this matter very seriously and will treat it as a disciplinary issue.”
Mr Ward has had a long-running dispute with the party’s leadership over his use of language with regard to Israel. He posted a tweet earlier this year calling the country an “apartheid state” and saying that “Zionists” were “losing the battle”.
He also spoke to BBC Radio Leeds about the latest conflict, saying: “There will be a ceasefire, then there will be a period of calm. “But during that period of calm when hopefully people are not being murdered, there will still be Palestinians who are being shot by the Israeli forces, they will still be beaten up, there will still be child detentions, that to the Israelis is peace. “When someone is not firing a rocket at Israel, that is peace.”
Prime Minister David Cameron has urged Israel to “exercise restraint” in its military operations and to avoid targeting civilians. But he has defended its right to self-defence and said the “fastest way” to bring about a ceasefire would be for Hamas militants in Gaza to stop firing rockets into Israel.