Prime Minister David Cameron has said Israel was right to defend itself in the face of "indiscriminate" attacks in Gaza last summer.
In an interview with the Jewish Chronicle, Cameron insisted it was "important to speak out" about standing by Israel and said there was an "important difference" between Israel's use of weapons to defend itself and Hamas' use of them "to defend its weapons".
"What I've seen is the attacks that take place on Israel and the indiscriminate nature of them. As PM, putting yourself in the shoes of the Israeli people, who want peace but have to put up with these indiscriminate attacks - that reinforces to me the importance of standing by Israel and Israel's right to defend itself."
He continued: "I feel very strongly that this equivalence that sometimes people try to draw when these attacks take place is so completely wrong and unfair. Because Israel is trying defend against indiscriminate attacks, while trying to stop the attackers – and there's such a difference between that and the nature of the indiscriminate attacks that Israel receives. I feel that very clearly. I've seen it very clearly as Prime Minister and I think it's important to speak out about it.
"Obviously we regret the loss of life wherever it takes place, but I do think there's an important difference – as Prime Minister [Benjamin] Netanyahu put it: Israel uses its weapons to defend its people and Hamas uses its people to defend its weapons."
Last summer Ed Miliband criticised Cameron over his slow response in condemning Israeli strikes on civilian targets in Gaza, describing the Prime Minister's "silence" as "inexplicable".
And his Foreign Office minister Baroness Warsi resigned from her post, saying the government's approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict had been "morally indefensible and not "in Britain's national interest".