Desmond Tutu said the world refrains from criticizing Israel because of lingering Holocaust guilt.
Tutu delivered a report Thursday to the U.N. Human Rights Council on an Israeli attack in 2006 in the Gaza Strip that left 19 civilians dead.
Tutu, a South African Anglican archbishop and Nobel Peace Laureate, called on the West to step up its criticism of the suffering in Gaza.
“I think the West, quite rightly, is feeling contrite, penitent, for its awful connivance with the Holocaust,” he said at a news conference, Reuters reported. “The penance is being paid by the Palestinians. I just hope again that ordinary citizens in the West will wake up and say, ‘We refuse to be part of this’.”
Tutu called for an independent investigation of the Gaza attack. He noted that Israel acknowledged responsibility for it but said Isael did not share its findings with him and there was no apparent accountability. Israel has said the shelling was aimed at preventing rocket attacks from Gaza on southern Israel.
Tutu said the Palestinians have a responsibility to stop the rocket fire.
“Families living in Sderot have the right to live without the fear of rockets, however crude, dropping from the sky,” he said.