British Labour leader: We would quickly recognize a Palestinian state

If Labour is elected to lead Britain, it will recognize a Palestinian state “very early on,” said party head Jeremy Corbyn.

By: AP and World Israel News Staff

British opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn said Friday that a government under his leadership would recognize a Palestinian state “very early on.”

“I think there has to be a recognition of the rights of the Palestinian people to their own state which we, as a Labour Party, said we would recognize in government as a full state as part of the United Nations,” he said.

Such recognition would come “very early on” under a Labour government, he said.

Corbyn said the Trump administration’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and move the US Embassy there was a “catastrophic mistake.”

Corbyn spoke during his first international trip outside Europe since he was elected Labour Party leader in 2015.

On Friday, he toured Zaatari, Jordan’s largest camp for Syrian refugees. On Saturday, he visited the Al-Baqa’a camp for Palestinians who consider themselves refugees.

With his visit to Jordan, Corbyn appeared to be burnishing his foreign policy credentials.

Since Corbyn’s election as Labour leader, allegations of anti-Semitism in the party have grown. Some in the party have claimed that Corbyn, a longtime critic of Israeli actions against the Palestinians, has allowed abuse to go unchecked.

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Asked to respond, Corbyn said Friday that “there is no place whatsoever for anti-Semitism in our society.”

“There has to be a peace process, and there has to be a right of the Palestinian people to live in peace, as well as the right of Israel (to live in peace),” he said.

Labour under Corbyn gained parliamentary seats but narrowly lost to Prime Minister Theresa May’s Conservative Party in 2017 snap elections.

Opinion polling suggests the two parties are neck and neck. Britain is not scheduled to have another election until 2022, but there could be an early vote if May’s fragile minority government suffers a major defeat in Parliament.

Corbyn is known for his denunciations of the IDF and his reference to the terror groups Hamas and Hezbollah as “friends.” He has also offered to host representatives of the two terror groups in the British Parliament.

With regard to his reference to Hamas and Hezbollah as “friends,” Corbyn told UK’s Channel 4 News in July 2015 that he used the term in “a collective way, saying our friends are prepared to talk.”

“I think to bring about a peace process, you have to talk to people with whom you may profoundly disagree,” he said.

In an interview with the anti-Israel website Electronic Intifada in August 2015, Corbyn expressed support for imposing an arms embargo on Israel and boycotting Israeli universities involved in arms research.