Desmond Tutu to the people of ISRAEL

22nd August 2014 – Haaretz, Repris par Avaaz


Over the weekend,  i was back in Belgium and having missed the last train to the Ardennes, i found myself once again staying with my friend Nicolas in the lovely town of Liege

I will write more about the Ardennes but you can find out more here:

As is our tradition now it seems, Nico and i have breakfast and inevitably our conversation always turns into one on the philosophies of the world around us. And over our coffee, we got to discuss a speech by Desmond Tutu.


My plea to the people of Israel: Free yourself by freeing Palestine
Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, in an exclusive article for Haaretz, called for a worldwide boycott of Israel and calls on Israelis and Palestinians to think beyond their leaders to a lasting solution to the crisis in the Holy Land.

Originally published on Translation by the Avaaz community

The past few weeks, members of civil society around the world have launched unprecedented action against the brutal and disproportionate Israeli responses to rocket attacks from Palestine.
If the sum of all participants are doing rallies last weekend demanding justice in Israel and Paslestine Cape Town, Washington, New York, New Delhi, London, Dublin and Sydney, and in all other cities – this is undoubtedly the biggest storm of popular feeling ever seen in the history around a single cause.

There are a quarter of a century, I have participated in protests against apartheid who had collected a lot of people. I never imagined that we would see again in events of this magnitude, but the last Saturday in Cape Town was at least as important. The protesters included young and older people, Muslims, Christians, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, agnostics, atheists, black, white, red and green This is what one would expect from a vibrant nation in multicultural and tolerant.
I asked the crowd to sing with me. We oppose the injustice of the illegal occupation of Palestine We oppose the killing in Gaza We are opposed to the humiliation of the Palestinians at checkpoints and. roadblocks. We are opposed to violence by all parties. But we are not against the Jews.

Earlier in the week, I called to suspend Israel’s participation in the International Union of Architects which was held in South Africa.
I called the Israeli brothers and sisters at the conference to actively dissociate and their profession, design and construction of infrastructure to perpetuate injustice, especially through the separation wall, terminals security checkpoints and the construction of settlements built on occupied Palestinian land.

I implore you to bring this message to you: please, reverse the course of violence and hatred by joining the non-violent for justice for all people of the region move,” I told them said.
In recent weeks, more than 1.7 million people around the world have joined the movement by joining an Avaaz campaign asking companies profiting from the Israeli occupation and / or involved in abuse and repression Palestinians to withdraw. The campaign specifically targets the pension fund ABP of the Netherlands, Barclays Bank, provider G4S security systems, the transport activities of the French company Veolia, the computer company Hewlett-Packard and Caterpillar bulldozers provider .

Last month, 17 European governments urged their citizens to no longer maintain business relationships or invest in the illegal Israeli settlements.
Recently, we have seen the bottom of the Dutch pension PGGM withdraw tens of million Israeli banks, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation divest from G4S, and the American Presbyterian Church to dispose of an investment of approximately 21 million in HP, Motorola Solutions and Caterpillar companies.
This is a movement that is gaining momentum.

Violence begets violence and hatred, which in turn only breeds more violence and hatred.
We South Africans know the violence and hatred. We know what it means to be forgotten by the world, when no one wants to understand or even listen to what we say. This is part of our roots and our experience.
But we also know that the dialogue between our leaders allowed, when organizations were accused “terrorists” were allowed again, and their leaders, including Nelson Mandela, were released from prison or exile.

We know that when our leaders began to speak, the logic of violence that broke our society has dissipated and disappear. Terrorist acts that occurred after the start these exchanges as attacks on a church and a bar were condemned by all, and those who were originally not found any support when the polls spoke.
The euphoria that followed the first joint vote was not confined only to South Africans black. Our peaceful solution was wonderful because it included all of us. And Then when we produced such a tolerant, charitable and open up that God would be proud of, we all felt liberated.
Of course, having had extraordinary leaders helped us.

But what ultimately led these leaders to come together around the table was the range of effective non-violent means and that were made ​​to isolate South Africa economically, culturally academic and psychological.
At a pivotal moment, the government of the time had come to realize that preserve apartheid was costing more than it reported.
The trade embargo imposed in the 80 to South Africa by multinationals involved was a key factor in the fall, without bloodshed, the apartheid regime. These companies have realized that by supporting the South African economy, they contribute to the maintenance of an unjust status quo.
Those who continue to do business with Israel, and thus contribute to fostering a sense of “normalcy” in Israeli society a disservice to the people of Israel and Palestine. They help to maintain a status quo profoundly unjust.
Those involved in the temporary isolation of Israel say that Israelis and Palestinians all have as much right to dignity and peace.
Eventually, the events that took place in Gaza last month is a test for those who believe in the human value.
It is becoming increasingly clear that politicians and diplomats are unable to find answers, and that the responsibility of negotiating a lasting solution to the crisis in the Holy Land depends on civil society and the peoples of Israel and Palestine themselves.

In addition to the recent devastation in Gaza, honest people from around the world including Israel are deeply disturbed by the daily violations of human dignity and freedom of movement to which Palestinians are subjected to checkpoints and roadblocks. In addition, Israeli policies of illegal occupation and building settlements in the buffer zones in the occupied territory exacerbate the difficulty of reaching an agreement that is acceptable to all in the future.
The State of Israel acts as if there were no tomorrow. Its inhabitants will not know quiet and safe life to which they aspire and to which they are entitled, as their leaders perpetuate the conditions that perpetuate the conflict.
I condemned those in Palestine are responsible for firing missiles and rockets into Israel. They fan the flames of hatred. I am opposed to any form of violence.
But let’s be clear, the people of Palestine have every right to fight for their dignity and freedom. This struggle is supported by many people around the world.
No one problem created by man is hopeless when humans are pooling their sincere efforts to resolve it. No peace is possible when people are determined to achieve it.
Peace requires that the people of Israel and the Palestinian people recognize the human being that is in them and recognize each other in order to understand their interdependence.
Missiles, bombs and brutal invective are not the solution. There is no military solution.
The solution will most likely non-violent tools we have developed in South Africa in the 80s to persuade the South African government of the need to change its policy.
The reason why these tools boycott, sanctions and withdrawal of investments were ultimately successful is that they benefited from a critical mass of support, both within and outside the country. The same type of support for Palestine we witnessed around the world in recent weeks.
My plea to the people of Israel is to see beyond the moment, to see beyond the anger of being perpetually besieged, design a world in which Israel and Palestine exist side by side a world in which the dignity prevail and mutual respect.
This requires a paradigm shift. A change that recognizes an attempt to maintain the status quo is to condemn future generations to violence and insécuruté. Change that to stop treating legitimate criticism of government policy as an attack against Judaism. A change that begins inside and spreads through communities, nations and regions-the diaspora that stretches around the world we share. The only world we share!

When people come together to accomplish a just cause, they are invincible. God does not interfere in human affairs, in the hope that the resolution of our differences make us grow and learn for ourselves. But God does not sleep. Jewish scriptures tell us that God is on the side of the weak, the poor, the widow, the orphan, the stranger who helped slaves beginning their migration to a Promised Land. The prophet Amos who said we should let justice flow like a river.
In the end, good will triumph. Try to free the people of Palestine humiliations and persecutions inflicted on him the policy of Israel is a noble and just cause. This is a cause that the people of Israel should support.

Nelson Mandela said that South Africans do not feel completely free until the Palestinians are not free.
He might have added that the liberation of Palestine would also be the liberation of Israel.

Would the war in Gaza ever come to an end if the world decided to boycott Israel? Could this mean that no trade = no funds for weapons and this exclusion might be the answer to ending the war and killing on both sides?


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