Here is the full text of his message to them:
My dear Friends
Greetings to all of you from South Africa.
You are coming together in
the Netherlands at a time when the desire for a just peace in Palestine and
Israel is being expressed with more urgency than ever before by the international
community. Those of you in Europe carry a strong personal and communal
responsibility for the situation in that place, and therefore I am happy that
you are reflecting on your response in a way that expresses your love for
justice and peace and for the peoples of that region.
A solution is possible but
it requires all of us in the human family to make our voices heard that we will
not accept the unacceptable.
As South Africans, we
experienced something very similar in the 1980s, and we knew that it is only
sustained pressure from the international community that would assist the two
sides to construct a just solution. For many years some people were calling for
a Palestinian Gandhi, but today the call is very different: The question now is
more: “who is going to be the Israeli De Klerk? Who will God raise up in Israel
to lead the people there from the slavery of their various addictions and
deceptions to the freedom of true relationship and humanity and what we in
South Africa call “ubuntu”? And what can you as Dutch people do to assist in
The answer is not rocket
science. You know what you eventually did with apartheid in South Africa. As
good friends of the Israelis, you need to say to them that you love them like
you love your alcoholic uncle, and that the time has now come to show tough
love, by taking away the key and not giving him one drop of alcohol until he
decides to help himself. But your focus should not only be on them, because at
the same time you should also empower the rest of the family who has had to
suffer abuse for so many years (in this case the Palestinian people) to be able
to journey with them on the road to healing, but probably not in the way that
the alcoholic uncle would expect. In other words, any small BDS (Boycott,
Divestment and Sanctions) action that you can engage in should start if you
really believe in non-violent actions for change, and if nothing significantly
changes, those actions must accelerate.
You can then also talk to
the larger EU family to assist you and you do this not because of any malice on
your part, but because you deeply love all the people of that region. I have
always said that the lion and the lamb will lie down together but only if the
lion becomes vegetarian!
May your conference
therefore be a spiritually enriching experience and may the God of surprises,
the God for whom nothing is impossible, really surprise you with her presence.
God bless you.
Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu