Labour leader Ed Miliband has condemned the expansion of Israeli settlements on the Palestinian West Bank and warned they pose a "mortal threat" to hopes of securing a two-state solution to the decades-old conflict.
Mr Miliband, who is an atheist of Jewish descent, said he was a supporter of "the homeland for the Jewish people" but has made clear he does not give blanket backing to the actions of the Israeli government.
The Labour leader made his strongest criticism yet during a visit to the Middle East, blasting the policy as "wrong and illegal."
The Labour leader said: "What I have seen today shows that the expansion of Israeli settlements on the Palestinian West Bank is not only wrong and illegal but represents a mortal threat to the two-state solution and to a successful outcome of the peace process."
He is on the last leg of a three-day visit and will stay overnight in Ramallah, in central West Bank, tonight - the first leading British politician to be able to do so as a result of improved security conditions.