South African cleric and activist, Desmond Mpilo Tutu, stressed that Israel and other parties have no choice but to talk to the Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas.
"You don’t make peace with friends," he told the Ma’an news agency in Ramallah. "You negotiate with those who are regarded as pariahs."
The archbishop meanwhile noted that Tel Aviv’s boycott on Hamas bears an uncanny resemblance to white South Africa’s snub to interact with Mandela’s anti-apartheid African National Congress (ANC) which then was branded as a terrorist outfit by South Africa’s apartheid regime.
"It’s the same thing that happened in South Africa for a very long time," he said. "The apartheid government said they wouldn’t negotiate with Nelson Mandela, and so on — and they had to."
The archbishop met Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh in 2008 when he headed a UN fact-finding commission investigating the deaths of 19 Palestinians in a 2006 Israeli artillery attack on a row of houses in Beit Hanoun.
Israel claimed a technical malfunction caused the shells to mistakenly hit the targets. Israel described the United Nations investigative team as biased and denied Tutu a visa, forcing him to cross into the impoverished Gaza Strip through Egypt.