Chairman of the United Nations probe panel on the Israeli army killing of 19 Palestinian civilians in northern Gaza in November2006, former South Africa’s Archbishop Desmond Tutu expressed shame over the deteriorating conditions in Gaza.
Tutu was speaking during a press conference in Gaza city on Thursday morning, after concluding a two-day mission in Gaza.
‘ its shame that we remain silent over what is going in Gaza, which needs external help and support, so the population there can enjoy legitimate humanitarian rights’.
‘ the situation in Gaza is extremely miserable, we have not seen a passerby or any aspect of normal life as same as in many parts of the world. We have not seen children who smile or play, we have not either seen cars carrying passengers due to lack of fuel’.
As for the purpose of his mission Gaza, Tutu explained that his three-member panel, heard testimonies from survivors of the Israeli army massacre in 2006, saying that he was shocked of a woman’s testimony.
‘ I rushed to my wounded son, who was trying to collect his abdomen’s contents, after he was hit in the Israeli shelling’, the Nobel prize winner quoted the woman as saying.
He also called for lifting the Israeli blockade on Gaza, stopping Palestinian homemade shells fire onto nearby Israeli towns, as well as resumption of Palestinian-Israeli peace talks for achieving peace in the region.
Christine Jenkiz, a panel member and international law expert, said that preliminary investigations revealed that Israel was proved involved in a war crime against humanity, when its army killed 19 civilians , most of them from the Atamna family in November2006.
Tutu’s visit to Gaza was delayed in late 2006, after the Israeli government denied him access to the Gaza Strip, and he eventually could make his way to Gaza on Tuesday through the Rafah crossing terminal in southern Gaza Strip.
In November19, the Israeli army artilery shelled four residential houses in Beit Hanoun city in northern Gaza Strip, causing the death of 19 Palestinian women and children, many of whom were same family members. Israel then claimed the shelling resulted from a fatal technical problem of its artilery.