​Hamas must be included in Mid East peace talks, says Labour MP

Labourship leader, Jeremy Corbyn. (Reuters/Darren Staples)
Labour leadership contender Jeremy Corbyn rejected claims that he is friends with Islamist groups Hezbollah and Hamas during a heated TV interview in which he called for more inclusive Middle-East peace talks.

Responding to the suggestion that he viewed the militarized groups as “friends,” Corbyn told Channel Four’s Kristan Guru-Murthy both political parties should be included in Middle-East peace negotiations.

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Following intense questioning by Guru-Murthy, Corbyn explained his position.

"Does it mean I agree with Hamas and what it does? No. Does it mean I agree with Hezbollah and what they do? No,” the Labour MP said.

"There is not going to be a peace process unless there is talks involving Israel, Hezbollah and Hamas and I think everyone knows that."

Corbyn added that even the former head of Israeli intelligence agency Mossad agreed that more comprehensive talks must be pursued. The Israeli intelligence chief argued at the time that any viable peace process involves negotiations with people who hold opposing viewpoints.

Asked whether he thought military intervention was needed in Syria, Corbyn argued the crisis must be solved diplomatically.

I don't think British intervention by military means is going to bring about a solution. I think there has to be ultimately a political solution,” he said.

Reflecting on violence and bloodshed in war-torn Syria, Corbyn said cutting off arms and funding supplies to Islamic State is vital.

"I think the issue has to be choking off the arms supply and the money that goes to ISIL [Islamic State], recognize where ISIL have come from and also recognizing, I think, there was quite a big mistake in not reconvening the Geneva conference involving Iran,” he said.

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Corbyn went on to argue such a move could have brought about a ceasefire in Syria at a much early stage.

Alongside his foreign policy views, Corbyn, who is currently in second place in polling for the role of Labour leader, talked about how Britain could become more egalitarian.

While he said his goal is to reduce inequality in Britain, he acknowledged this is “a very difficult thing to do.

The hundred richest people own as much as a third of the population...we have the very wealthy buying up parts of London to keep it empty and use it as an investment bank for the future,” he said.

Asked if he thought the super-rich were happy with their lot, the left-leaning MP added, “I would want the super-rich to pay properly their share of the needs of the rest of the community."

Hezbollah, a Shiite Islamist militant group and political party based in Lebanon, has been widely criticized as a terror organization by the West. However, many analysts disagree with this perspective, saying the group has sought to defend Lebanon’s national interest.

Likewise, militarized Palestinian political party Hamas has been long been decried by Western leaders. Hamas’ 2006 election victory in the Occupied Palestinian Territories saw aid to Palestinian territories frozen by the Quartet of the Middle East, which is composed of the US, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations.