EXCLUSIVE: Corbyn called Israeli opposition leader Livni a 'war criminal'
AP Photo/Nasser Nasser
Jeremy Corbyn called Israeli opposition leader Tzipi Livni a “war criminal”, denouncing plans by the British government to make it harder to arrest her over her role as foreign minister during the 2008-2009 conflict between Israel and Gaza, i24NEWS can reveal.
The Labour leader made the comment in January 2010, after a visit to the Gaza Strip.
In an article for the communist newspaper Morning Star, Corbyn wrote that “any plans by the British government to curtail the opportunity to arrest” Livni and other “war criminals” would be “seen as yet another confirmation of British duplicity in the treatment of Palestinian people”.
Tzipi Livni, now Israel’s opposition leader and co-chair of the Zionist Union, declined to respond to the revelation. The UK Labour Party refused to answer i24NEWS’s questions about whether Corbyn still stood by his claim, and whether a Corbyn-led government would seek Ms. Livni’s arrest if she came to Britain.
Pro-Palestinian activists have sought Livni’s arrest in the past over her role in the 2008-09 Israel-Gaza conflict, during which Livni was Israel’s foreign minister and deputy prime minister. A British court issued an arrest warrant for Livni in December 2009 at the request of pro-Palestinian activists, forcing her to cancel a planned visit. More recently, she was also served a summons by British police over alleged war crimes during that operation.
Later in February 2013, after another visit to the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, Corbyn wrote to then-UK Foreign Secretary William Hague to convey a number of requests from Gazan Palestinians, including for Britain to “stop allowing Israel’s criminal politicians to come to our country freely”. Corbyn wrote, “Had I not been working toward all of these three aims I’d have hung my head in shame.”
The Israeli Foreign Ministry and Prime Minister’s Office declined to comment on the revelation that Corbyn had called Israel’s politicians “criminal”.
The revelation comes as Corbyn faces mounting criticism of his decision to lay a wreath at the graves in Tunis of the masterminds of the 1972 Munich Massacre. Corbyn and the Labour Party have responded with several different versions of what happened, with Corbyn confirming to press that he was “present” but “thinks” he was not involved.
On Monday, i24NEWS reported that Corbyn met Hamas officials during a visit to Israel and the West Bank in November 2010 that he failed to declare to authorities, in breach of parliamentary rules.
Meanwhile, the Labour Party is reportedly planning to “compromise” on anti-Semitism, said to be open to adopting the full IHRA definition on anti-Semitism if adapted to include protections for “legitimate” criticism of Israel.
Eylon Levy is the i24NEWS investigative reporter.
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