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Desmond Tutu’s call for peace in the Middle East should be heeded

“It is admittedly very shrewd of the Federal Government and ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems to reach a deal on the sale of four new warships to Israel while all of the German media are focused on Israeli President Reuven Rivlin’s visit to Germany to mark the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Federal Republic of Germany and Israel. And as if that were not enough: German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen actually has the audacity to portray the Federal Government’s intention to meet around a third of the costs of the warships as a kind of reparation for the crimes of the Holocaust. It is beyond tasteless to describe war material which could potentially contribute to the deaths of many people as a gesture of peace,” Annette Groth, spokeswoman on human rights for the Left Party parliamentary group in the Bundestag, said in response to yesterday’s armaments deal.

Annette Groth went on: “Officially, the four corvettes are to be used to “protect Israeli gas fields in the Mediterranean from acts of terrorism”. But the truth is that the gas fields claimed by Israel are in some cases highly contentious. More than half of the gas reserves discovered by Israel are also claimed by the Palestinians and by Lebanon. In other words, the danger of war material from Germany once again being used in a full-blown war with large numbers of fatalities is very real!”

Annette Groth concluded by saying: “Desmond Tutu, the former South African archbishop, tireless campaigner against apartheid, and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, has just published an open letter to the Evangelischer Kirchentag (German Protestant Convention) to be held in Stuttgart in early June, a letter which has unfortunately received next to no media attention. In it, he appeals to us: “Please tell your government that mere words of concern are insufficient. They don’t change anything. The appropriate response when confronting injustice is to take real steps to confront and eradicate it.” The Federal Government should come to its senses and heed Desmond Tutu’s words. True friends don’t help each other to die in war. They help each other to achieve reconciliation and to live in peace at last!”