The Palestinian terror group Hamas was called “serious, hard-working and not corrupt” by UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn during a radio interview in which he also urged a suspension of the EU’s trade agreement with Israel.
Mr. Corbyn added that Hamas should not have to recognise the Jewish State of Israel before peace talks can begin, according to the newly-resurfaced 2010 exchange recorded in London.
The revelation comes just 24-hours after the man seeking to become the UK’s next prime minister stirred condemnation and disbelief from members of his own party after it was revealed he attended a graveside wreath-laying ceremony honoring a Palestinian terrorist involved in the 1972 Munich Olympics massacre.
A transcript of the recording, as published by the MailOnline, reveals Mr. Corbyn’s praise for Hamas. He said:
“It is not a question of whether one agrees or disagrees with Hamas on its political strategies or indeed its social strategies.
“You have to recognise that the reality is they have a great deal of support, they have a great deal of respect from a lot of Palestinians who wouldn’t necessarily politically agree with them but recognise they are serious, hard-working and they are not corrupt.
“But they want to be part of a process.”
Mr. Corbyn also criticised the Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu for not entering peace talks with them despite the goodwill he ascribed. He said:
“When I asked about recognition of Israel, I wasn’t expecting them to say we are prepared to recognise Israel. I don’t think they could possibly do that and retain credibility amongst their own members.
“They went as far as using words like accepting the reality of the situation of Israel’s existence.
“This apparently is not enough for Benjamin Netanyahu or for the United States, and so we continue on this, in my view, fairly disastrous policy of trying to divide the various Palestinian forces.”
Finally, he called for Brussels to suspend EU trade agreements with Israel. He said:
“I have always made it my business to enjoy good relations with Fatah with Hamas and with the independent members of the Knesset (the Israeli parliament) and the independent members of the Palestine National Authority.
“What can we do? Firstly, pressurising British politicians concerning the European trade relations with Israel.
“European trade arrangements are very beneficial to Israel and Israel is able to develop its economy on the basis of its trade with Europe.
“There is a human rights clause in that EU Israel trade agreement which is violated by Israel, and I think it is time to suspend that agreement.”
Mr Corbyn has previously described Hamas and Hezbollah – terror groups banned in Britain which runs the Gaza Strip in Palestine – as “friends”.
For its part, Hamas revealed to Breitbart Jerusalem in 2016 it “welcomed” Mr. Corbyn’s reported refusal to condemn the radical Islamist organization.
Taher A-Nunu, a spokesman and senior Hamas official, further said Hamas views Mr. Corbyn’s willingness to engage with his Gaza-based group as a “painful hit that the Zionist enemy received.”