LONDON — A British lawmaker was criticized Wednesday for tweeting that he would fire rockets at Israel if he lived in Palestinian territory.
“The big question is – if I lived in Gaza would I fire a rocket? – probably yes,” Liberal Democrat member of parliament David Ward tweeted.
Ward has previously been suspended from the junior party in Britain’s coalition because of remarks about the Jewish state.
Israel has waged a blistering 16-day bombardment of Gaza in an effort to stop Islamist movement Hamas from raining rockets into the country. Sources in Gaza say 630 Palestinians have died while 31 Israelis, including 29 soldiers have been killed.
Some on social media called on party leader Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg to suspend Ward from the Liberal Democrats, while others described the comment as an incitement to violence.
The big question is – if I lived in #Gaza would I fire a rocket? – probably yes
— David Ward (@DavidWardMP) July 22, 2014
The party distanced itself from the comments and said Clegg had long called for a peaceful solution to the conflict.
“We utterly condemn David Ward’s comments, they are not representative of the Liberal Democrats,” the party said in a statement.
“The party takes this matter very seriously and will treat it as a disciplinary issue.”
Last July Ward’s party gave him a two month suspension for tweeting that Israel is an apartheid state.
In a July 13 tweet Ward wrote “Am I wrong or are am I right? At long last the #Zionists are losing the battle – how long can the #apartheid State of #Israel last?”
Previously, Ward had angered the Jewish community in January 2013, on International Holocaust Memorial Day, when he said he was “saddened that the Jews, who suffered unbelievable levels of persecution during the Holocaust, could, within a few years of liberation, be inflicting atrocities on the Palestinians in the new State of Israel — and continue to do so.”
JTA contributed to this report.