“Can you imagine a mother holding the intestines of her own son.”

Tutu Shocked by Palestinian Suffering

Nobel Peace laureate Desmond Tutu stressed on Wednesday, May 28, that the UN fact-finding team has been “devastated” by stories from the survivors of a 2006 Israeli bombing that killed 19 civilians in Gaza. “We wanted to say that we are quite devastated. This is not something you want to wish on your worst enemy,” said Tutu, the retired Anglican archbishop of Cape Town.

A team of UN human rights observers travelled to the town of Beit Hanun in northern Gaza on a fact-finding mission about an Israeli bombing attack on the night of November 8, 2006, reported Agence France-Presse (AFP).

They listened as members of the Assamna family recounted the Israeli shelling of their village that killed 19 civilians, including eight children, while they were sleeping.

On the top floor of the bombed home, the glass in the windows is gone and there is a hole in the ceiling and the blue sky can been seen through the rusted iron frame of the house.

“I was here with my son. I was holding his hand when he died,” said Tahini al-Assamna through her tears.

“Can you imagine a mother holding the intestines of her own son.”

She also lost three of her brothers-in-law in the attack while her husband was killed two days before the bombing in an Israeli army operation.

Leaning against a scorched wall of the house, Saad Abdallah Assamna, 52, said he only hoped that “there will be an inquiry and those responsible will be judged before an international tribunal.”

The UN Human Rights Council had decided to send a team to Gaza to investigate the killings in 2006 but Israel refused to grant visas.

Tutu and his team on Tuesday, May 27, circumvented Israeli restrictions by entering the Palestinian territory through the crossing with Egypt, which was opened especially for them.

After conducting an internal investigation, the Israeli army announced in February that no charges would be brought against any soldier over the attack.

Harsh Reality

The Nobel Peace laureate plunged into the harsh reality in the long-besieged Gaza Strip.

He met with the mayor of Beit Hanun, a member of Hamas which has ruled Gaza since last June after ousting forces loyal to Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas.

“The Israelis do not need any pretext to kill civilians. The only goal is to kill,” the mayor, Mohammed Naziq al-Kafarna, told Tutu and British professor Christine Chinkin who is accompanying the mission.

“What we have seen confirms that what has happened is totally unacceptable,” said Tutu, also conveying his sympathies to the townspeople.

But the longtime anti-apartheid and peace activist pointed out that there is also suffering on the other side of the border in Israel.

“We also say that the people of Sderot suffer from the Qassam rockets. We care about them too,” said Tutu.

Israel has refused to allow the UN rights observers to visit the southern town of Sderot to speak with the victims of rocket firings.

“The two people, Israeli and Palestinian, can live peacefully together but it cannot happen through acts of violence,” said Tutu.

“You must realize that the Palestinians are fighting for their rights. The rockets are one reaction to Israeli military operations,” said Mayor al-Kafarna.

“Rockets are nothing in the face of Israeli Apache helicopters and F-16s which kill our children day and night.” ** Source: IslamOnline.net & News Agencies

MRN

Author: MRN Network

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