Israel’s Ambassador to the U.K. demanded Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg take “forceful and immediate action” against a lawmaker for saying he would probably fire a rocket if he lived in the Gaza Strip.
Liberal Democrat lawmaker David Ward yesterday wrote on his Twitter feed, “The big question is - if I lived in Gaza would I fire a rocket? - probably yes.” The comments come as more than two weeks of violence persisted between Israelis and Palestinians, leaving almost 700 people dead, including hundreds of Palestinian civilians. Millions of Israeli civilians have been menaced by rocket fire.
“Ward has in the past made hurtful and shocking statements regarding Israel and the Holocaust, but surely there has been none so abhorrent and damaging as his latest statement,” Ambassador Daniel Taub said in a letter to Clegg today. “There can surely be no discussion among right-thinking people that seeks to justify deliberate rocket or other attacks by terrorist groups on innocent civilians.”
Ward issued a statement today denouncing violence by Hamas fighters.
“I condemn the actions of Hamas, and my comments were not in support of firing rockets into Israel,” Ward said. “If they gave the opposite impression, I apologize.”
The Liberal Democrats said in a statement that in light of Ward’s “categorical apology” the party “will decide in due course if further disciplinary action should be taken.”