Archbishop Tutu waiting for Israeli green light

Israel’s Haaretz newspaper is reporting that “A UN mission to investigate the deaths of 19 civilians in the Gaza Strip town of Beit Hanun, led by South Africa’s Desmond Tutu, has been delayed because Israel has yet to authorize the trip, a spokeswoman said Saturday. The Nobel Peace laureate had been due to leave for the Middle East at the weekend, but he would not now leave before Monday, mission spokeswoman Sonia Bakar said. ‘We are still waiting for a sign from Israel’…

Haaretz reported that “Israel has yet to grant the South African anti-apartheid campaigner and former Anglican archbishop of Cape Town the necessary travel clearance, said three different officials close to the talks between the global body and Israel. The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because discussions were continuing, said they had yet to receive any indication from Israel that the mission will take place at all.”

The Haaretz story said that “Tutu chaired South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission after the end of white rule. Tutu, who was in Geneva, could not be reached for comment…The UN Human Rights Council passed a seventh resolution criticizing Israel on Friday, this time for its failure to act on earlier recommendations that it end military operations in the Palestinian territories and allow a fact-finding mission to the region … The rights body, which has only condemned the Israeli government in its seven-month existence, noted with regret its July resolution urging the release of all arrested Palestinian ministers has yet to be carried out … Israel’s ambassador to the global body in Geneva criticized the council for ignoring a Nov. 26 cease-fire agreement that ended five months of fierce fighting in Gaza.”, Haaretz reported. The Haaretz story on Archbishop Tutu’s mission to Beit Hanoun is here.

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