Nobel peace laureate Desmond Tutu has lashed out at Israeli and Palestinian leaders for behaving "like children," seeking to blame each other for the latest bloody conflagration in the long-running conflict.
"Once again, the people of Israel and Palestine are embroiled in a deadly contest of tit-for-tat violence in which there can never be victors, only losers," the South African cleric said in a statement.
"Like children following a playground dust-up, political and religious leaders fall over each other, not to make peace, but to proclaim: It wasn't us, they started it."
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On Wednesday Israeli warplanes pounded Gaza killing dozens of people, as Hamas responded by firing rockets deep into Israel.
"The world is looking to Israelis and Palestinians to be bigger than themselves; to act now, before any more children are harmed," said Tutu.
Anglican archbishop emeritus Tutu, 82, is still regarded as a moral beacon in South Africa and has been involved in efforts to bring peace to numerous regions around the globe.
He has long been outspoken about the Israel-Palestine conflict, drawing criticism from the religious right.