Tutu visits Gaza to look into killings

29 May 2008

by Bill Bowder

ARCHBISHOP Desmond Tutu was in Gaza on Tuesday to conduct an investigation into the deaths of a family of 19 Palestinians in November 2006, when Israeli artillery shelled their home in Beit Hanoun.

Dr Tutu, who had been refused a visa by Israel for 18 months, entered Gaza without a visa through Egypt. Reports said that he met Karen Abu Zayd, head of the UN Relief and Works Agency, which supports Palestinian refugees, and the former Hamas Prime Minister, Dr Ismail Haniyeh, and visited survivors.

Israel has said that the shelling was an accident, and is known to believe that the UN Human Rights Council, which asked Dr Tutu to investigate the killings, was “politicised”, because it censured Israel while ignoring other violators, such as Sudan, reports said.

Locals interviewed for Premier Radio on Tuesday said that the difficulty Archbishop Tutu had had in entering Gaza “spoke volumes” about how hard it was to travel in the area. They said his visit would be a “great encouragement” to Christians still in the area.

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