COLCHESTER MP Bob Russell says Britain needs to take a more “robust’’ line against Israel. Mr Russell and three Lib Dem colleagues spent four days in the West Bank and East Jerusalem on a trip organised by the Council for Arab-British Understand.

He claimed the policy of occupying former Palestinian land and building Israeli settlements amounted to apartheid.

Mr Russell said he met a six-year-old girl from the Gaza Strip who was diagnosed with bone cancer.

Life-saving treatment was only available for her in a hospital for Palestinians located in Jerusalem.

While she was given permission to be transported to the hospital, her father was not allowed to visit her.

The MPs were briefed by a series of charities, United Nations officers and agencies and the Israeli Foreign Ministry. They also visited military courts and heard reports of treatment of Palestinian residents by the Israeli Army.

Mr Russell said he and his colleagues would be seeking a meeting with Foreign Secretary William Hague to discuss their visit.

The MP said: “I shall be suggesting Britain needs to take a more robust line against Israel with action from the European Union and the United Nations to force Israel to comply with UN resolutions.

“I recognise what happened to the Jewish people of Europe in the Thirties and Forties was a crime against humanity.

“But I do not consider it fair the people of Palestine should pay the price of Europe’s sins by being forced out of their homeland by Israel.”