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Archbishop Tutu: My plea to the people of Israel: Liberate yourselves by liberating Palestine

August 21st, 2014

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Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, in an exclusive article published over the weekend in Haaretz, the liberal Israeli newspaper, called for a global boycott of Israel and urged Israelis and Palestinians to look beyond their leaders for a sustainable solution to the crisis in the Holy Land. South Africans – along with people across the world – have turned out in massive demonstrations in opposition to the disproportionately brutal bombing of Gaza.

The Archbishop said, “I asked the crowd to chant with me: “We are opposed to the injustice of the illegal occupation of Palestine. We are opposed to the indiscriminate killing in Gaza. We are opposed to the indignity meted out to Palestinians at checkpoints and roadblocks. We are opposed to violence perpetrated by all parties. But we are not opposed to Jews.”

The article goes on: “Earlier in the week, I called for the suspension of Israel from the International Union of Architects, which was meeting in South Africa.”

“I appealed to Israeli sisters and brothers present at the conference to actively disassociate themselves and their profession from the design and construction of infrastructure related to perpetuating injustice, including the separation barrier, the security terminals and checkpoints, and the settlements built on occupied Palestinian land. I implore you to take this message home: Please turn the tide against violence and hatred by joining the nonviolent movement for justice for all people of the region.”

He added: “Over the past few weeks, more than 1.6 million people across the world have signed onto this movement by joining an Avaaz campaign calling on corporations profiting from the Israeli occupation and/or implicated in the abuse and repression of Palestinians to pull out. The campaign specifically targets Dutch pension fund ABP; Barclays Bank; security systems supplier G4S; French transport company Veolia; computer company Hewlett-Packard; and bulldozer supplier Caterpillar.”

“Last month, 17 EU governments urged their citizens to avoid doing business in or investing in illegal Israeli settlements.”

“We have also recently witnessed the withdrawal by Dutch pension fund PGGM of tens of millions of euros from Israeli banks; the divestment from G4S by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; and the U.S. Presbyterian Church divested an estimated $21 million from HP, Motorola Solutions and Caterpillar.”

“It is a movement that is gathering pace.”

“Violence begets violence and hatred, that only begets more violence and hatred.”

“We South Africans know about violence and hatred. We understand the pain of being the polecat of the world; when it seems nobody understands or is even willing to listen to our perspective. It is where we come from.”

“We also know the benefits that dialogue between our leaders eventually brought us; when organizations labeled “terrorist” were unbanned and their leaders, including Nelson Mandela, were released from imprisonment, banishment and exile.”

“We know that when our leaders began to speak to each other, the rationale for the violence that had wracked our society dissipated and disappeared.”

Read Archbishop Tutu’s letter in full on the Haaretz site here, or download a PDF of the article here. (The Haaretz site has experienced problems in the past week, so we wanted to make a copy available)

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