TEHRAN, Aug. 24 (MNA) – Australian priest and human rights activist in an interview with MNA has said that the Israeli leaders must face justice as war criminals’.

Israel has several times attacked Gazans from air and land during last seven years. Thousands of civilians, mostly women and children have fallen victims to such severe attacks. Many others have been injured and the hospitals and medical facilities are damaged and unable to meet the needs. The Rafah border crossing is not open most of the times and some humanitarian aid are not let into Gaza either – Iran has sent an aid cargo plane to Egypt but the Egypt has refused to let medical aids and food into Gaza, or transfer of some wounded Palestinians to Iran for medical treatment.

In an exclusive interview with Mehr News English correspondent, Father David Smith from Holy Trinity Dulwich Hill of Australia Sydney, said if tangible support could come to Gaza from Iran this could do much to heal not only Gaza but also the tragic divide between Sunni and Shia across the Levant.

Father Dave further noted that the world’s Muslim leaders’ inactions towards Gaza case is appalling in line with the inaction of the West. He added that “Mr Obama continues to chant the AIPAC-inspired mantra about Israel having ‘a right to defend itself’ while making no reciprocal acknowledgement of Gaza’s right to defend itself!” 


Father Dave on International Quds Day Rallies in Sydney


MNA interviewed Father David Smith from Australia over the crisis in Gaza Strip; Father explained his views on Gaza and Israeli offensives in the blockade enclave. What follows is the full text of the interview.


How do you see the effect of the blockade on daily life of people in Gaza?

I have never visited Gaza. I have been in Syria and Iran and Lebanon this year but not in Gaza yet.

I have been to Israel once in 2004 (as a not very welcome guest) to be present at the release of my friend, Mordechai Vanunu (the ‘nuclear whistle-blower’) but I did not make it to Gaza. I may yet attempt to reach Gaza as a part of one of the flotillas but cannot confirm this now.

What I am hoping for in the case of Gaza is not peace if ‘peace’ means a return to the status quo I hope and pray for justice – for a lifting of the blockade, an end to the Occupation and the establishment of a sovereign Palestinian state.

As to the effects of the blockade, I can only go by the accounts of those who are there and who have been there. The blockade makes normal human life impossible for the people of Gaza. It is, as Ilan Pappe said, a form of ‘incremental genocide’ – destroying the life of the people an inch at a time!


Do the peace activists of Gaza Flotilla and Gaza Peace Caravan plan for any movement towards the siege enclave?

My last involvement was with ‘Gaza’s Ark’ – an attempt to float a boat full of goods OUT of Gaza with a view to reestablishing international trade. Unfortunately this boat was targeted and destroyed in the most recent Israeli incursion into Gaza.

I am told though that there are plans even in Iran for the launching of another flotilla.


How do you see world’s reaction towards Israel action and atrocities in Gaza Strip?

The inaction of the West is predictably appalling. Mr Obama continues to chant the APAC-inspired mantra about Israel having ‘a right to defend itself’ while making no reciprocal acknowledgement of Gaza’s right to defend itself! My country (Australia) does no better. Indeed, the current Australian government seems to be bending over backwards to placate the Zionist lobby here as well as their US masters.

What is even more appalling in some ways is the inaction of the world’s Muslim leaders! We might have hoped that Erdogan in Turkey or one of the proud princes of the house of Saud might have offered some tangible support to the people of Gaza. Along with Egypt they offer no more help than does the West!

It will be a strange irony if Iran proves to be Gaza’s only hope! Even so, if tangible support could come to Gaza from Iran this could do much to heal not only Gaza but also the tragic divide between Sunni and Shia across the Levant! Perhaps this is indeed God’s greater plan. I pray indeed that this may happen.


Regarding negotiations between Hamas and Israel, Hamas’ demand for blockade removal and ports and airports opening in addition to Israel’s demand for Hams’ disarmament, do you think any probable agreement between them?

I think Israel’s demand that Hamas disarm is offensive and ridiculous. Given Israel’s relentless record of violence towards the people of Gaza, their demand that the Gazans must place themselves in a position where they cannot possibly defend themselves before further concessions can be made is absolutely absurd!

Hamas’ demand, on the other hand – to relax and to end the blockade - is something Israel promised after the last offensive and this should take place immediately! The blockade is as sadistic as it is illegal. It is appalling that any civilized people should be allowed to imprison and torture another people in this way!


Father Dave on International Quds Day Rallies in Sydney


What is Australia’s position regarding Israelis’ atrocities in Gaza?

The Australian government has been going backwards with regards to Palestine. While some acknowledgement has been made of the tragic death of civilians in Gaza, the current Australian government has made it clear that it will do whatever the US tells it to do and is far more concerned with placating the Zionist lobby in this country than with any concern for justice or long-term peace in the Levant.

Having said that, the Australian people are becoming increasingly supportive of the Palestinian cause and we can only hope that the government will eventually be forced to take their views more seriously. This is true across Europe too and in the USA too of course. Israel is losing the propaganda war as their acts of violence become more shameless and blatant, and so even where governments are remaining intransigent, churches and trade unions and other organisations are taking a stand for Palestine through the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign (BDS) and through similar avenues.


Do you think that Muslims of Australia create a force to put pressure upon Australian government to react against the Israelis?

There are not enough Muslims in Australia to force the Australian government to change its stance. Indeed, so long as Palestine is viewed as being a ‘Muslim issue’ it is never likely to be taken seriously in this country. This is why it is so important, in my view, that Christians and Jews and peoples of other faiths (and of no faith) come forward and join hands with Muslim leaders in support of Palestine. We need to show the rest of this country that Palestine is a human issue and not the domain of any one faith or race of people.


Do you think Israel should be sued as a war criminal?


In truth, the blood of so many Palestinian sisters and brothers is crying out from the ground against these people (Genesis 4:10). It would be wonderful to see Mr Netanyahu and his co-conspirators face justice.


Father Dave, David Smith, is an Australian parish priest of Holy Trinity Dulwich Hill and also a professional boxer. He had already joined the peace pilgrim caravan to make it to Syria through Iran for humanitarian aid transfer. Visit his website HERE.

Interview: Zahra Karimy



News Code 103739

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