Israeli civilians are living through their own version of the Blitz, the Israeli ambassador to the UK has said as as diplomatic efforts continued to find ways to end the escalating conflict in Gaza.
In an appeal for support for Israeli military action from the British public, Daniel Taub compares the Hamas rocket attacks on Israeli cities to Nazi Germany's bombing raids on Britain during the Second World War.
Writing on The Huffington Post UK on Tuesday, Taub says that just as Hitler wanted to "terrorise and cow" the people of Britain with bombing raids on their cities, "over one million Israelis have been forced to live under similar conditions, seeking refuge in bomb shelters as a result of thousands of Hamas rocket and mortar attacks".
"While the rockets targeting Israeli civilians – men, women, and children – do not carry as deadly a payload as that of the German bombs of World War II, their aim is equally sinister and illegitimate: to instill fear in the hearts of Israelis and undermine their right to live in a free and independent state," he says.
On Monday more than 100 rockets were fired into Israel by Hamas and last week three Israeli were killed by a rocket attack on the town of Kiryat Malachi.
"In recent months, over one seventh of Israel's population have found themselves within range of rocket fire, having to live their lives within 15-30 seconds of the closest bomb shelter in case the siren sounds," Taub says.
"Children have been unable to attend school for extended periods, growing up experiencing the trauma of life in the danger zone.
"Showing remarkable courage and restraint in the face of this intolerable reality, these Israelis have tried to maintain a semblance of normalcy, while the Israeli government continued to hold out hope that a non-military resolution of the situation might be reached."
At least 100 people are believed to have died in the Gaza Strip in the last six days, including nine children in attacks on Sunday, as the Israel Defence Force continues its assault against palestinian targets.
On Monday Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan described Israel as a "terrorist state" for engaging in the the "massacre of children" during its bombardments of Gaza.
But Taub insists the Israeli military is "doing its utmost to avoid injuring the innocent Palestinians".
He adds: "Moreover, refusing to ignore the plight of Gaza’s civilian population, which suffers under the yoke of Hamas rule, Israel has transferred nearly 100 trucks loaded with food and medical supplies into Gaza since the operation began and has also afforded medical treatment to 26 Gazans who are being cared for in Israeli hospitals."
However former Labour cabinet minister Ben Bradshaw says Israel's recent actions have contributed to the current crisis.
Writing on the Huffington Post UK, Bradshaw said: "Yes, the Israelis withdrew from Gaza in 2005 but Israel’s continued blockade has strangled Gaza’s economy and only served to encourage the militants.
"The relentless expansion of illegal Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, particularly around Jerusalem, make it increasingly hard to see how a two state solution could be possible."
And Bradshaw warns time is running out for president Obama and the United States to bring the two sides to the table.
He says: "If Obama doesn’t want to go down in history as the American President who missed the last chance for a two state solution he must not only act now to stop the bloodshed but devote serious American engagement to getting peace talks going again."
President Obama called Egyptian president Mohammad Morsi and Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday to discuss the ongoing violence.
British foreign secretary William Hague praised Egyptian ceasefire negotiations for averting an Israeli ground invasion so far in the Gaza crisis.
Foreign Secretary William Hague is expected to update MPs on the fighting in a statement to the House of Commons later this afternoon.Suggest a correction