Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond and Labour leader Ed Miliband have put more pressure on Israel to end its operations in Gaza.

In a phone-call to high-ranking Israeli ministers, Hammond said the UK sought an “immediate and unconditional” ceasefire and a solution that avoids “a repeat of the cycle of violence”.

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Hammond, pictured here meeting British troops in his previous role as Defence Minister, said Gaza deaths were ‘intolerable’

Speaking to his Israeli counterpart Avigdor Lieberman and Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, Hammond (pictured) reportedly told the duo that the UK also demanded that they make every effort to prevent further civilian casualties.

“I welcome indications that Israeli forces may begin to withdraw from Gaza within the next few days,” he said.

“Any solution would need to provide genuine stability, and not simply lead to a repeat of the cycle of violence… Any ceasefire agreement needs to show a clear path to real change in Gaza.”

News of the Foreign Secretary’s call not to return to the status quo will please Jewish groups that have been calling for an alternative strategy to that Israel currently employs, after he admitted that the British public had a “strong sense that it was intolerable”

It comes after leader of the opposition, Ed Miliband, criticised the prime minister David Cameron for not opposing the ground incursion, and this weekend he went further, saying that the British government must send “a much clearer message to Israel that its actions in Gaza are unacceptable and unjustifiable”.

Demonstrating a clear shift in public opinion, pro-Israel MP Margot James declared Israel’s actions to be “disproportionate” and derided the “terrible elimination of Palestinian lives”.