A group of Conservative MPs this week embarked on a visit to a military facility in israel amid the continuing violence that has claimed the lives of about 1,270 Palestinians and 56 Israelis.
The MPs are touring the country as David Cameron called for an "unconditional, immediate, humanitarian ceasefire" and Philip Hammond, the defence secretary, warned Israel that its actions risk undermining western support.
On Tuesday, the parliamentarians went to a briefing at the Iron Dome missile defence system that shoots down Hamas rockets after one of the heaviest nights of shelling of Gaza.
According to the Conservative Friends of Israel, seven of the party's parliamentarians, including former minister Baroness Neville Jones, Sir Edward Garnier, Andrew Percy, Guto Bebb, Bob Blackman and Jack Lopresti, travelled to the country, although it is not known how many went to see the Iron Dome.
One of those who did was Percy, who tweeted "Israel acts as we would" in the face of provocation from Hamas. He also stressed there was no doubt the conflict "looks awful on TV and what is happening to Gazans is a tragedy".
Debating the issue of whether Israel's actions were "proportionate" with another Twitter user, he said: "So was the bombardment of Germany by Britain in World War 2 disproportionate?"
Writing on social media, Percy said the Conservative MPs are part of a cross-party delegation and stressed it was not a taxpayer-funded trip.
The group was to go to the Palestinian Authority but this has now been cancelled on the advice of the Foreign Office.
In a statement ahead of the trip, the Conservative Friends of Israel said the MPs were pressing ahead with the visit "hoping to gain a better understanding of the complexities of daily life in the area and express their solidarity with the people of the region".
Paul Flynn, a Labour MP who has been on several trips to Israel, said visits abroad by MPs can be useful but this one was bad timing.
"It is insensitive when people are being slaughtered in such numbers and going out there is giving tacit support to one side. It does seem to be unwise to put it mildly to be there at the moment because the only possible way out is an agreement between the two sides and I don't think you should go there without going to both sides," he said.
Israel and Hamas are facing calls to halt the violence, but prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu has warned of a "prolonged" campaign.
Speaking during a visit to Berkshire, Cameron said it was time for an "unconditional, immediate, humanitarian ceasefire".
"What we're seeing is absolutely heartbreaking in terms of the loss of life, and the pictures that everyone has seen on their television screens are really heartrending and everyone wants to see this stopped, so an immediate unconditional ceasefire, that is what is required," he said.
The prime minister made clear that he blames Hamas, the political movement which controls Gaza, for the outbreak of fighting, saying: "Hamas must stop attacking Israel with rocket attacks. That is how this started. It's completely unjustified and they need to stop as part of the ceasefire." He has repeatedly emphasised Israel's right to defend itself.
Ed Miliband has done the same but clearly opposed Israel's incursion into Gaza, despite "extreme provocation from Hamas".
"I simply cannot justify what we are seeing unfolding in Gaza: the mounting death toll of innocent Palestinian civilians," he said on Friday.
Nick Clegg, the Liberal Democrat leader, has gone even further by saying the Israeli response "appears to be deliberately disproportionate".
"It is amounting now to a disproportionate form of collective punishment. It is leading to a humanitarian crisis in Gaza, which is just unacceptable," he said.
"I really would now call on the Israeli government to stop. They have proved their point. Israel of course retains the right to react. But you cannot see the humanitarian suffering in Gaza now and the very great number of deaths in Gaza without concluding that there is not much more going to be served in Israel's own interests … to see this festering humanitarian crisis get worse. It incubates the next generation of violent extremists who want to do harm to Israel."
- the, Gardian Wednesday 30 July 2014 12.29 BST