by Roshan Muhammad Salih, Press TV, London Jan 18, 2009
The following is an exclusive Press TV interview with Tony Benn -- British socialist, former Labour MP and Cabinet Minister -- on the Israeli war on the Gaza Strip:
Press TV: Tony Benn, you just gave a speech a few minutes ago. Could you summarize what you said, and what your message is to Israel?
Benn: What is happening in Gaza is a crime against humanity. It is a moral issue and we are all morally responsible now, wherever we live, to help the people of Gaza.
I am suggesting that there is something that we could do, for example, there is a British naval base in Cyprus. We should use Royal Navy warships to escort the ship carrying humanitarian supplies to Gaza.
We should use the Royal Air Force to fly into Gaza doctors, medical supplies, and also journalists, whom Israel keeps out.
We should tell the Israeli airlines EL Al that until they abide by the United Nations' decisions, no Israeli aircraft would be allowed to fly into any British airport.
We should tell the British ambassador to withdraw from Israel, and the Israeli ambassador to withdraw from here. We should recognize that Palestine is a state.
We should also talk to Hamas ourselves, and we should get better, fairer coverage from media in Britain, that does not cover our demonstrations but at least through the help of Press TV what we are saying in Britain today can get around the world.
Press TV: Yes. What you are enumerating are practical solutions, practical things that the UK government could do. They have been accused of not taking these practical steps. They might have condemned what is going on, they might have called for a ceasefire, but some people are saying those are words, they are not concrete actions.
Benn: I agree. That's why I came up with some "practical" suggestions; what any human being would do. If children, women, civilians are dying under a murderous air attack our responsibility is to react in every way we can, wherever we live. And I think the British government should take this up and deal with it in a practical way.
Press TV: And the British government has been trying very hard to say that its response to the crisis in Gaza has been different from its response to the crisis in Lebanon a few years ago, when it didn't call for an immediate ceasefire.
The rest of the interview is at www.presstv.com/detail.aspx