Israel had no choice but to invade the Gaza Strip because it remains "a safe haven for terrorists", a Midland MP has claimed.
Michael Fabricant (Con Lichfield) defended Israel's actions in a lively Commons debate, which was also attended by Birmingham MP Richard Burden (Lab Northfield), a high-profile critic of Israel.
Mr Fabricant said "democratic and free nations" such as Britain and Israel needed to work together to fight terrorism.
He said terrorist organisations in the West Bank and Gaza were part of the same wider Islamic movement which had attacked Madrid and London.
Israeli leaders yesterday authorised the army to send troops into residential areas of Gaza and gave the green light for the military to push ahead with a plan to create a buffer zone, designed to prevent militants from firing rockets into Israel.
The Security Cabinet's decision, stepping up a ground offensive in Gaza, indicated Israel could be prepared to partially reoccupy Gaza less than a year after withdrawing all troops and settlements from the area.
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert convened the urgent meeting after Hamas militants fired a rocket into the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon late yesterday.
In an official statement, the Israeli military said the operation's main goals remain to find Corporal Gilad Shalit, the soldier kidnapped by Palestinian militants last week, and to prevent rocket fire on Israeli towns and cities.
Mr Fabricant said: "Almost to the day, 12 months ago, Britain suffered its first ever suicide bombing attack. In one day, Britain became a victim in the global jihad.
"Fifty-two innocent civilians were killed, and hundreds were wounded.
"Israel has had to face that same threat every day of the country's existence, not only from hostile states whose aim is to wipe Israel off the map but from terrorist organisations, including Hamas, Hezbollah and al-Qaeda, which target innocent citizens."
He added: "Every day since the Israeli disengagement from the Gaza strip in August 2005 and the total withdrawal of settlers and soldiers, rockets have been fired - more than 500 to date - by Palestinian terrorists into Israeli towns."
"The Gaza strip remains a safe haven for terrorists." This is why the invasion of Gaza "have had to happen", he said.
But he was challenged by Mr Burden who asked: "I am still struggling a little with his definition of terrorism . . . would he also draw a distinction between the targeting of Israeli civilians by Palestinian fighters and the targeting of Israeli troops?"
Trade Minister Ian McCartney, responding for the Government, said: "The UK continues to call for the immediate and unconditional release of Corporal Shalit.
"We, and our European Union and G8 partners, are also urging Israel to show the utmost restraint at this time of crisis."