Labour MPs under fire as they meet Hamas

Labour Friends of Israel has condemned a meeting held by two of the party's MPs, one a frontbench spokesman, with representatives of Hamas.

Andy Slaughter, who was recently appointed by leader Ed Miliband to his shadow team on justice, and Jeremy Corbyn met Palestinian Legislative Council members Muhammad Totah and Ahmad Atoun in Jerusalem at the weekend.

LFI chairman David Cairns said: "We find it shocking that Shadow Justice Minister Andrew Slaughter MP and Jeremy Corbyn MP met Hamas leaders last week. It is UK policy not to speak to Hamas unless they renounce violence, recognise Israel's right to exist and abide by previous Israeli-Palestinian agreements."

He added: "Hamas is a violent terrorist organisation dedicated to Israel's destruction. Whilst these two MPs were meeting Hamas, one of their most senior spokespersons, Mahmoud al-Zahar said over the weekend that the Jews would 'soon be expelled' from the region and derided the West for accepting homosexuality, saying, 'You do not live like human beings. You do not even live like animals. You accept homosexuality. And now you criticise us?'."

Mr Totah and Mr Atoun were ordered to resign by Israel after their election as Hamas members to the PLC four years or else lose the right to live in Jerusalem. They refused and have taken refuge in the Red Cross compound in Jerusalem.

Neither Mr Slaughter or Mr Corbyn were available for comment. A Labour Party spokesman said: "We are not going to comment."

    Last updated: 10:47am, November 12 2010