The following letter appears in the July 26 edition of the Green Left Weekly:
Three weeks after the Australian’s Richard Kerbaj whipped up a storm over humanitarian aid by a Sydney-based charity to the suffering people of Gaza, we find our own federal police jumping at this organisation in what seems to be a co-ordinated crackdown started by the Israeli authorities in the West Bank and continuing in Australia.
One who may not have heard about the raids in the West Bank, may think that the media is directing federal police raids. Unfortunately, the reality is more disconcerting, raising questions as to whether such raids are co-ordinated with the Israeli authorities in an effort to further starve the besieged Palestinian people through creating fears in would-be donors and casting aspersions against charities that seek to ease the suffering of orphans and widows.
Muslim Aid Australia’s contribution to Gaza through Interpal has always been open. A quick visit to their homepage up to yesterday would have shown that the organisation was not hiding any link with Interpal. British-based Interpal has been cleared of any connection to violence after two investigations by British authorities. Despite being so cleared, both the American and the Australian governments have maintained its proscribed status.
In the year that our Prime Minister took the unprecedented step of celebrating Israel’s 60th anniversary in federal parliament, the least our government could do is show some concern for the plight of the Palestinian people whose suffering is directly inflicted by state powers.
The charity has now removed the Gaza appeal from its website. The price for supporting the Palestinian cause is clearly too high, even through the democratically-elected Hamas government.