A Liberal Democrat MP facing disciplinary action after accusing "the Jews" of atrocities against Palestinians has issued a public apology for causing "unintended offence".

David Ward's comments - posted on his website ahead of Sunday's Holocaust Memorial Day - were condemned by party chiefs and sparked a furious backlash.

He initially strongly defended the article and hit out at criticisms by the party - which summoned him to the Whip's Office for a meeting on Monday morning.

david ward

David Ward MP with Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg

But in a new post he said he "never for a moment intended to criticise or offend the Jewish people as a whole, either as a race or as a people of faith, and apologise sincerely for the unintended offence which my words caused".

He added: "I recognise of course the deep sensitivities of these issues at all times, and particularly on occasions of commemoration such as this weekend."

Ward said that in raising the treatment of the Palestinians he had simply been "trying to make clear that everybody needs to learn the lessons of the Holocaust".

He added: "I will continue to make criticisms of actions in Palestine in the strongest possible terms for as long as Israel continues to oppress the Palestinian people."

The Bradford East MP composed his original posting after signing a Holocaust memorial book in the city, describing Auschwitz as "the Nazi concentration and extermination camp which is the site of the largest mass murder in history".

But in the addition which caused the uproar, he added: "Having visited Auschwitz twice - once with my family and once with local schools - I am saddened that the Jews, who suffered unbelievable levels of persecution during the Holocaust, could within a few years of liberation from the death camps be inflicting atrocities on Palestinians in the new State of Israel and continue to do so on a daily basis in the West Bank and Gaza."

An Israeli embassy spokesman said on Sunday: 'David Ward's comments show a troubling ignorance of the brutal campaign of terrorist attacks waged against Israeli children, women and men by Palestinian terrorist groups, and of the extraordinary efforts made by Israel to protect its citizens in an effective and humane manner.

"His decision to make his remarks in the context of Holocaust Memorial Day, and his reference to Auschwitz concentration camp, shows a shocking insenstivity to the feelings of both Holocaust survivors and Israeli victims of terrorism.'

  • An ultra Orthodox Jewish man visits the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem, Wednesday, April 18, 2012. Israel will be marking its annual remembrance day for the six million Jews killed by the Nazis in World War II on Thursday. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

  • An ultra Orthodox Jewish man looks at a pile of books on display at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem, Wednesday, April 18, 2012. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

  • Two ultra Orthodox Jewish men visit the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem, Wednesday, April 18, 2012. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

  • Two ultra Orthodox Jewish men visit the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem, Wednesday, April 18, 2012. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

  • A Holocaust survivor lays flowers next to the names of concentration camps during the annual ceremony on Holocaust Remembrance Day at the Yad Vashem memorial in Jerusalem, Thursday, April 19, 2012. Israel is marking its annual remembrance day for the six million Jews killed by the Nazis in World War II. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

  • Israelis pause during a two-minute siren in memory of victims of the Holocaust in the market in Jerusalem, Thursday, April 19, 2012. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)

  • Israelis pause during a two-minute siren in memory of victims of the Holocaust in the market in Jerusalem, Thursday, April 19, 2012. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)

  • Israelis attend the opening ceremony of Holocaust Martyrs and Heroes Remembrance Day at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem, Wednesday, April 18, 2012. (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)

  • Israelis attend the opening ceremony of Holocaust Martyrs and Heroes Remembrance Day at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem, Wednesday, April 18, 2012. (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)

  • Israeli soldiers stand at attention during the opening ceremony of Holocaust Martyrs and Heroes Remembrance Day at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem, Wednesday, April 18, 2012. (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)

  • Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the opening ceremony of the Holocaust Martyrs and Heroes Remembrance Day at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem, Wednesday, April 18, 2012. (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)

  • Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks at the opening ceremony of Holocaust Martyrs and Heroes Remembrance Day at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem, Wednesday, April 18, 2012. (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)