Saturday, May 31, 2008

Archbishop Tutu:

Gaza has become "desolate and scary" due to Israeli siege and blockade

"Tutu raps global silence over Gaza"


May 30, 2008

On the Web at:

GAZA CITY: South African Nobel Peace laureate Desmond Tutu yesterday denounced what he called the international community's silence and complicity over the situation in the besieged Gaza Strip.

"My message to the international community is that our silence and complicity, especially on the situation in Gaza, shames us all," Tutu said at the end of a three-day UN fact-finding mission to the impoverished Palestinian territory.

"Gaza needs the engagement of the outside world, especially its peacemakers," the Anglican archbishop said at a news conference.

Tutu was in Gaza on a UN fact-finding mission into the killing of 19 Palestinian civilians in a 2006 Israeli artillery attack.

Following an internal investigation, Israel concluded that shelling the civilians' homes was "a rare and grave technical error of the artillery radar system," and announced that no charges would be brought against Israeli forces involved in the incident.

Tutu said the coastal strip has become "desolate and scary" as a result of shortages of fuel and other basic goods.
"No people were in the streets. We were struck particularly by the absence of the sound of children playing or waving to (my) motorcade, like other countries," he said at the news conference, urging Israel to lift the blockade.

Dozens of Palestinians were captured yesterday in an Israeli military incursion in the northern Gaza Strip.

Israeli troops used loudspeakers to order residents of the Beit Hanun area to gather in a square, and then took away about 60 of them, according to a witness.

The Palestinian Ramattan news agency said one of its cameramen, Ashraf Al Kafarneh, was among those captured.

Meanwhile, a 29-year-old Palestinian civilian died of his wounds yesterday, one day after he was hit by Israeli gunfire in southern Gaza.