Thursday 13 June 2024

Archbishop calls on Israel and Hamas to accept UN ceasefire resolution "immediately and unconditionally"

 A statement read for Archbishop Thabo by Dr Mamphela Ramphele at a news briefing held at Desmond & Leah Tutu House, Cape Town, on June 12:

Last week I joined Bishop Sithembele Sipuka of the Catholic Bishops' Conference and Bishop Malusi Mpumlwana, General Secretary of the SACC, on a solidarity visit to the heads of the Christian churches in Jerusalem. (We were also joined by the Rev. Dr. Tyrone S. Pitts of Churches for Middle East Peace in the US, and our visit was very helpfully supported by our ambassador to Jordan.)

In Jerusalem, we heard of the pain and the suffering that has resulted from Israel's razing of much of Gaza to the ground, in a war in which more Palestinian civilians have been killed than in two years of Britain's notorious bombing of Dresden during World War Two. We also heard of the deep longing of the Palestinians for peace with justice and reconciliation.

I welcome the UN Security Council's unprecedented 14 to nil vote this week, adopting a resolution which calls for an immediate, full, and complete ceasefire in Gaza, for the release of Israeli hostages, the exchange of Palestinian prisoners, the withdrawal of Israeli forces from populated areas in Gaza, the return of Palestinian civilians to their homes and the safe and effective distribution of humanitarian assistance at scale throughout the Gaza Strip.

Israel and Hamas must accept the resolution immediately and unconditionally, failing which all who supply them with weapons must apply a comprehensive arms embargo against them.

We in the church thank the Tutu legacy organisations, the Tutu IP Trust and the Desmond and Leah Tutu foundation, for their daily act of solidarity with the Palestinian people by displaying the kufiya-clad statue of our Archbishop Emeritus outside their offices. As South Africans, we must not waver in our support for an end to Israeli occupation and the complete liberation of Palestine. There is no room for compromise on this issue. The future of Israel and the security of its people lie only through achieving justice for the Palestinians.

The Most Revd Dr Thabo Makgoba

Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town

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