Jeremy Corbyn was once again tainted by association this week, as questions were asked about his decades-long support for two Palestinians jailed for conspiring to bomb the Israeli embassy in 1994.
The frontrunner in Labour’s leadership race has consistently used his parliamentary position to support Jawad Botmeh and Samar Alami, in the belief that they are the victims of a miscarriage of justice.
In a series of appeals, from London to Strasbourg and the European Court of Human Rights, Corbyn has defended the pair, who were jailed for 20 years for their part in the terrorist attacks.
On 26 July 1994 a car-bomb exploded outside the Israeli Embassy in High Street Kensington. The following morning a second bomb went off outside UJIA’s Balfour House headquarters. A total of 20 people were injured. The attacks came only days after the Jewish centre in Buenos Aires was bombed, and as Israeli and Palestinian leaders nudged closer towards a peace deal.
Five Palestinians were arrested in January 1995 and in December 1996, Botmeh and Alami were jailed. Prosecutors said they were involved with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine but that they had become dissatisfied with official policy, forming a breakaway group in the UK.
Ever since the trial, Corbyn has supported a campaign focusing on the decision of government decision to withhold intelligence service information which lawyers say could have cleared the pair.
The government argued that to do so would “affect national security at the highest level and would, if disclosed, present a clear and immediate threat to life”.
Before they were released, the hard-left candidate supported five Early Day Motions in parliament on behalf of Botmeh and Alami, the latest of which he sponsored. Subsequently, and in his capacity as MP, he has pressured institutions which took action against the Palestinians’ supporters.