August 28, 2009
(JTA) -- Desmond Tutu said that the Palestinians and the Arabs are paying "penance" for the Holocaust.
In an interview Thursday with Ha'aretz, Tutu, the South African archbishop who is visiting Israel this week as part of the group known as the Elders, said that the West was consumed with guilt because of the Holocaust, "as it should be."
He added, "But who pays the penance? The penance is being paid by the Arabs, by the Palestinians. I once met a German ambassador who said Germany is guilty of two wrongs. One was what they did to the Jews. And now the suffering of the Palestinians."
Israel is mistaken to think it can achieve security through force, he said.
"The lesson that Israel must learn from the Holocaust is that it can never get security through fences, walls and guns," Tutu said. Responding to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's comments while visiting Germany this week that the lesson of the Holocaust is that the Jewish people must be able to defend themselves, Tutu said, "In South Africa, they tried to get security from the barrel of a gun. They never got it. They got security when the human rights of all were recognized and respected."
Known for his frequent and fierce criticism of Israel, Tutu has compared the suffering ot the Palestinians to what black South Africans endured under the apartheid government.