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August 22, 2018

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Hamas ‘salutes’ Jeremy Corbyn

Hamas has pledged its support for Jeremy Corbyn as more evidence emerged of his long-running links to the Islamist group. 

Praising the Labour leader for his political activism, Hamas, which was recently proscribed by the European Court of Justice, declared “we salute Jeremy Corbyn’s supportive positions to the Palestinians”. 

However, the message of support, posted on the group’s official Twitter page, stopped short of calling for  Corbyn to be elected prime minister, stating that it respected “the choice of the British people”. 

Separately, Corbyn was also facing a fresh investigation into an undeclared trip to the West Bank in 2010, where he was pictured meeting senior Hamas officials. The Daily Telegraph understands that the Labour leader has been reported to the standards watchdog amid concerns that he breached parliamentary rules. 

Corbyn did not record the trip in the members’ register of interests, which requires MPs to declare any overseas visits paid for by third parties that exceed a threshold of £660.

 However, records from the register show that Andy Slaughter, the Labour MP for Hammersmith, who joined Corbyn for the visit, declared that his travel and accommodation costs had totalled £927 and had been paid for by the British-based Friends of al-Aqsa and Middle East Monitor. 

A Labour spokesman was unable to say on Monday whether the trip fell below the threshold for declaration, but added the party believed it was under the £660 limit and was working to establish the full details.

They added: “Jeremy has a long and principled record of solidarity with the Palestinian people and engaging with actors in the conflict to support peace and justice in the Middle East. That is the right thing to do.”

News of the Hamas visit follows the disclosure that  Corbyn attended a conference in Qatar in 2012, where he was joined by convicted terrorists and senior officials from Hamas. 

Corbyn was joined in Doha by Husam Badran, a former Hamas military leader sentenced to 17 years for his alleged role in a string of terror attacks which killed more than 100 people.

Others present included Khaled Meshaal, the former political leader of Hamas, and Dr Abdul Aziz Umar, who received seven life sentences for aiding in the preparation of a suicide belt.

Corbyn acknowledged in an Iranian TV interview that he had met Umar at the conference and claimed in his regular Morning Star column that he had eaten a “takeaway” with Mishaal during a trip to Gaza in 2010.Asked about the meeting on Monday, Corbyn said: “A takeaway dinner? I don’t remember any takeaway dinners. I have met many people from many aspects of the Palestinian cause as a way of bringing about dialogue, as a way of bringing about peace.”

The Labour leader was on Monday visiting Scotland, where he was warned the party risks turning its back on Scotland’s Jewish community “for good” unless he addresses the “clear” anti-Semitism in the party.

Moderate Labour MPs reacted angrily to the news that the daughter of Dame Margaret Hodge has been subjected to a torrent of abuse from supporters of the Labour leader. Dame Margaret has experienced a wave of anti-Jewish hatred in recent weeks after she accused Corbyn of being an “anti-Semite” in Parliament. 

It has now emerged her daughter, Lizzi Watson, the deputy editor of the BBC News at 6 and 10, has been targeted by online trolls. Dame Margaret called the abuse “deeply unpleasant” and “pathetic”.

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