A Liberal Democrat MP has been reported to the police after suggesting that he would probably fire rockets at Israel if he was living in Gaza.
On Tuesday evening David Ward tweeted: "The big question is - if I lived in #Gaza would I fire a rocket? - probably yes." He sent another tweet two hours later which said: "Ich bin ein #palestinian - the West must make up its mind - which side is it on".
Shortly after the tweet was published, a LibDem spokesman said party leader Nick Clegg "utterly condemned" the comments. But Mr Clegg has since refused to make any direct comment himself and the party has accepted the MP's apology, issued after he had spoken to LibDem officials.
In his apology, Mr Ward said: "I condemn the actions of Hamas and my comments were not in support of firing rockets into Israel. If they gave the opposite impression, I apologise."
A spokesperson for the LibDems said Mr Ward's statement was a "categorical apology. In light of this apology, the party and the whips will decide in due course if further disciplinary action should be taken."
Conservative MP Nadhim Zahawi has reported the comments to the police and asked them to investigate whether the tweets represent an offence as "encouragement of terrorism".
Israeli ambassador Daniel Taub said: "Mr Ward has, in the past, made hurtful and shocking statements regarding Israel and the Holocaust, but there surely has been none so abhorrent and damaging as his latest statement justifying these attacks."
Following Mr Ward's remarks, former LibDem MEP Edward McMillan-Scott then tweeted: "David Ward can look after himself. The @BoardofDeputies is a frightful bag of disputatious Jews and the editor of the @JewishChron is a prat."
The Board had made no comment on Mr Ward's remarks at the time of Mr McMillan-Scott's intervention.
Mr McMillan-Scott later tweeted: "I apol to @BoardofDeputies altho they didn't when I was smeared by @stephenpollard in 2009 at behest of #Coulson. D Tel did tho. I'm not a/S. "
The Board said his apology was "wholly inadequate".
Stephen Pollard, editor of the JC, said: "Mr McMillan-Scott's tweet is truly bizarre. I have never had any form of contact with Andy Coulson."