7 Jan 2009

Priest unrepentant over protest action

4:27 pm on 7 January 2009

A Catholic priest in Wellington says he is unrepentant about smearing a mixture of his own blood and paint on an Israeli memorial on Tuesday.

The memorial to the former Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin was attacked after a protest by a pro-Palestinian group about the invasion of Gaza city.

Father Gerard Burns spilt a mix of paint and blood on the Rabin memorial.

The act has outraged Kiwi Friends of Israel, which is calling for an apology. A spokesperson for the organisation, Ed Brownlee, says Father Burns' actions are doubly contemptible because Mr Rabin was an advocate for peace and stability in the Middle East.

However, Father Burns says he disputes the former prime minister's commitment to a lasting peace process between Israel and the Palestinians.

Tuesday's protest march through the capital drew several hundred highly emotional and angry Palestinian supporters, who carried banners condemning Israel's attack on Gaza.

A handful of pro-Israeli supporters were also present.