The Indypendent recently caught up with British Parliamentarian and anti-war leader George Galloway who recently lead an aid convoy to the devastated Gaza strip and was subsequently prevented from entering Canada who accused him of providing financial support to Hamas
Q: What is your reaction to the swearing in of the new right-wing Israeli government on March 31?
A: After all, they had the option of re-electing the brutal killers of Gaza. But, they chose even more brutal, even more desperate killers in Netanyahu and Lieberman. And this poses a big question for the rest of us. Are we going to continue, absurdly, to treat the breakers of international law, the occupiers in defiance of international law, the people who are regularly launching brutal assaults, and very effective brutal assaults that kill, maim, orphan thousands, are we going to continue to give them the money, the weapons and diplomatic and political support to do that, while boycotting their victims. This is adding insult to injury. The people who are the victims of this are the ones who are called the terrorists, and the people who are perpetrating it are called the victim of terrorism.
So, I believe the rest of us have to say, we can no longer continue to fund, arm and support, for what 42 years now has been an illegal occupation, and we intend to hold Israel to the same standards that we would require of any other member of the international community, and if they don’t live up to them, they’ll have to be sanctioned, and boycotted, and divested from and shunned, as Apartheid South Africa was shunned. Instead of shunning their victims, we have to start shunning the perpetrators.
Q: The right wing gained popularity in the lead up to the election the Israeli offensive in Gaza did not go far enough. Netanyahu has called for the removal of Hamas from power in Gaza. What is your response?
A: As it happens, I am not a supporter of Hamas, but I am a supporter of democracy. And no body has the right to choose who speaks for the Palestinians except the Palestinians themselves. And has been established many many times, by such failed enterprises as the invasion of Lebanon two years ago, the attack on Gaza over Christmas/New Year, there is no military force that can uproot and destroy the resistance, because the resistance is the people themselves. You can kill a hundred, five hundred, five thousand, but they have sons, and brothers, and neighbors and friends, and this will keep coming back stronger and stronger, and all you are doing by creating more martyrs is creating more revenge.
Q: Recent report in Haaretz leaked database, leaked by Israeli group Peace Now, last year they had saw the greatest escalation of and creation of settlements on Palestinian land. That was under the ‘moderate-centrist’ Kadima part. Now what do you expect to see from the right wing coalition that has taken power?
A: First I have to challenge the characterization of as Kadima moderate or centrist. This is one of the things that bedevils this whole affair. Every time Israel moves right, we are invited to consider the previous the right the center and this march has lead all the way to Lieberman. The two-state solution envisioned in the Oslo agreement, which I supported as a supporter of the line of President Arafat, is dead. As a result of the ethnic cleansing of Jerusalem, the building of the apartheid wall, the growth of the settlements, the massacre of Gaza, and the absolute determination of at least 90% of Israelis never to allow the Palestinian refugees to return to their homes. So, I have a better idea. lets fight for a single, democratic and secular state, from the river to the sea, where all the Jews, where all the Muslims and all the Christians can live as equals before the law, with one man, one woman, one vote.
Q: Your response to the Canadian government turning you away from the border?
A: Its backfired you know. Its been a far bigger audience and a far greater interest for what I have to say as a result of this foolish ban. I don’t know why they did it. They did it at the behest of something called the Jewish Defense league, which certainly doesn’t speak for Jews and doesn’t have much to do with defense, which is regarded by the FBI here in the US as a dangerous groups of thugs. I don’t think the Canadian people want to be lead by such people. They pleased their friends in Likud with this ban, but they angered their own people left and right, whether they agreed with me or not. And it backfired. I am confident I will be back in Canada, but meanwhile I will be speaking to them via the internet. The idea that a 23- year member of British Parliament, who has toured Canada many times before, who is currently touring the United States of America, is a terrorist or a security risk, is simply laughable. And what they mean is that I took ambulances and medicine to Gaza, and gave it to the local authorities there. Well, you call that terrorism, you really are bankrupting the whole idea, you are leaving the word with no meaning, and that dangerous as well as foolish.