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Cape Town - Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu has appealed to the authors of the recent violence in the Middle East to urgently lay down their arms.
While doing so, they should bear in mind that “those whom they treat with such contempt are also God's children”, he said in a statement on Friday.
The Associated Press reported on Friday that at least 22 Palestinians, including 12 militants and six children, and three Israelis had been killed in three days of fierce exchanges between the Israeli military and Gaza militants. Seven Palestinians were killed earlier in the week from another series of airstrikes.
According to the news agency, Israel claimed it was bombarding Gaza in retaliation for Islamic militant rocket attacks.
“Once again, the innocent people of Israel and Palestine are paying with their blood to advance the divisive and exclusive agendas of the intolerant few,” Tutu said in a statement.
“Once again, fanatics on both sides blame each other and claim to be acting with the approval of God.
“Once again, the world wrings its hands and seeks to heal this gaping wound with a flimsy, impermanent plaster of tenuous ceasefire.”
The retired cleric said lasting peace in the Holy Land would benefit not only the people of Palestine and Israel.
“The conflict there is echoed in hatred and mistrust across the world,” he said.
He appealed to the world - led by the United Nations (UN), and the powerful nations with geopolitical and economic interests in the region - to prioritise developing a solution for sustainable peace and security for the people of Israel and Palestine.
“The sustainable solution must include the return of illegally occupied land and the creation of two nation states, in a process overseen by UN peacekeepers,” he said. - Sapa