Nobel peace laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu, has called Israel's blockade of the Gaza Strip an "abomination". Speaking at the end of a two-day mission to the region last Friday, he strongly condemned what he called international "silence and complicity" on the blockade, which he compared to the actions of Burma's leaders. The retired Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town said the international community's "silence and complicity, especially on the situation in Gaza, shames us all". Archbishop Tutu has in the past been denied admission to Israel, because of his insistence on trying to speak with leaders from both sides. He said: "conflicts are resolved through talking to enemies not friends. " On this occasion he met the deposed Palestinian prime minister, Ismail Haniya, explaining that it was an opportunity to tell the Hamas leader the firing of rockets into Israel was a violation of human rights. Archbishop Tutu was in Gaza on a UN investigation into the killing of 19 Palestinian civilians in Beit Hanoun by Israeli shellfire in November 2006. During his visit, he met some of the relatives of the victims. He will report his findings to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. Archbishop Tutu has already condemned the incident as a "massacre". Israel said the Beit Hanoun deaths in November 2006 were a mistake during action to target areas used by Palestinian militants. Last week 60 Palestinians were detained in another Israeli raid on Beit Hanoun. Residents were summoned to a square by Israeli troops with loudhailers before dozens were taken away, witnesses said. The Israeli military confirmed its pre-dawn incursion into Gaza on Thursday and said about 60 "wanted Palestinians" were being interrogated. During the incursion armoured military bulldozers destroyed farmland, witnesses told AFP news agency. Israeli forces launch frequent attacks into Gaza which they say are aimed at combating Palestinian militants who fire rockets into Israel. In the meantime the ongoing blockade on Gaza is causing major shortages of food and medicine in what is one of the most crowded places in the world. Archbishop Tutu appealed for both sides to start talking with each other and called on the world to intervene. "Gaza needs the engagement of the outside world, especially its peacemakers," he said at a news conference. Source:: BBC/AFP
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