Gerald Kaufman, who has died aged 86, on a visit in 2010 to the Palestinian Legislative Council in Hebron, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. Photograph: Abed al-Hashlamoun/EPA

The Palestinian leadership and people mourn passing of British MP, Kaufman

PNN/ Ramallah/

PLO Executive Committee Member Dr. Hanan Ashrawi on  behalf of the Palestinian leadership and the people of Palestine, expressed deep sorrow the passing of Sir Gerald Bernard Kaufman, the longest-serving British MP from the Labor Party, who passed away on Sunday evening at the age of 86.

“In addition to being a leading intellectual figure, opinion-maker, writer, and politician dedicated to social justice, Sir Kaufman was also a dear friend of Palestine who courageously advocated for sanctions against Israel for its war crimes and passionately defended our right to self-determination, freedom and statehood,” Ashrawi said in a statement.

“His passing is a great loss, and our thoughts and prayers go out to his family, loved ones and the people of Britain,” she concluded.

In 1972, Kaufman protested against the entry to Britain of former Israeli prime minister Menachem Begin, who plotted alongside fellow Yitzhak Shamir in 1948 to bomb the King David Hotel in Jerusalem, killing 91 people. Shamir later became twice prime minister.

In the 1980s, Kaufman continued to push Israel on its policies towards Palestine, meeting PLO leader Yasser Arafat and railing against the treatment of Palestinians, describing Israel as a “pariah” and its senior politicians as “war criminals”.

Following the war on Gaza, he compared Israel to the Nazis: