LONDON - British Foreign Secretary William Hague has warned Israel against allowing the Middle East peace process to become a casualty of turmoil in the region, urging it to tone down belligerent language over protests in Egypt and other neighbouring states. Speaking on a visit to the region, Hague told the BBC: Amidst the opportunity for countries like Tunisia and Egypt, there is a legitimate fear that the Middle East peace process will lose further momentum and be put to one side, and will be a casualty of uncertainty in the region. The foreign secretary implicitly criticised recent statements by the Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, in which he warned the country to prepare for any outcome and pledged to reinforce the might of the state of Israel. Hague told the Times: This should not be a time for belligerent language. Its a time to inject greater urgency into the Middle East peace process. One senior Israeli official said he was simply flabbergasted at the comments, adding that relations between friendly countries did not extend to issuing instructions over language. The foreign secretary also hinted at British worries that the US, the key driver of talks between Israel and the Palestinians, was distracted by the protests sweeping across the Arab world and needed to increase its pressure on the Netanyahu government. There is real urgency for the Israelis and the US, he said. Recent events mean this is an even more urgent priority and thats a case were putting to the Israeli government and in Washington. The Israeli refusal to freeze settlement construction was disappointing, he said, adding that within a few years peace may become impossible. Hague made his comments en route to Amman, the Jordanian capital, which has seen protests against the regime in recent days. He is visiting five countries in a three-day trip, including Tunisia where an uprising forced the president, Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali, to flee. Israel has reacted with alarm to the wave of protests and uprisings in the region, fearing that its peace agreements with Egypt and Jordan could be jeopardised and that Islamic organisations such as Hamas could be boosted. Addressing the Israeli parliament last week, Netanyahu warned that Egypt could become another Gaza, run by radical forces that oppose everything that the democratic world stands for. On Monday, the Israeli prime minister warned that Egypt could go the way of Iran, where calls for progress would be silenced by a dark and violent despotism that subjugates its own people and threatens everyone else. Netanyahus office declined to respond to Hagues comments, but pointed to a passage in Mondays speech to the European Friends of Israel, in which the prime minister spoke of the need to reach a peace agreement with the Palestinians. Israeli officials have warned that events across its southern border could impact on a future deal with the Palestinians. In response to Hagues remarks, Yigal Palmor, spokesman for the Israeli foreign ministry, said: What we have here is an example of a regime in turmoil, a situation in which a regime is facing a serious challenge, and that could entail the freezing or cancellation of a 30-year-old peace treaty. This possibility is obviously a cause of preoccupation for Israel. The lesson we draw from current events is to emphasise the fundamental importance of the security aspects of any future peace treaty with any party. We do hope for a resumption of peace talks with the Palestinians but obviously to protect a future peace agreement, all security arrangements must be treated as a priority. Jonathan Rynhold, an analyst at Bar-Ilan University, said Israel had shown no belligerence over events in Egypt, but had legitimate concerns about the outcome of the uprising.