JOHANNESBURG-- South African Nobel Laureate Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu says he is deeply distressed and broken-hearted by the massacre perpetrated by the State of Israel in Gaza.

On Monday, 58 people were killed when Israeli troops opened fire on Palestinian protesters in Gaza. The violence came as the United States inaugurated its first embassy in Jerusalem after moving it to the holy city from Tel Aviv where other foreign diplomatic missions are located.

In a statement here Wednesday, Tutu said he is praying to God to open the eyes and hearts of all citizens of the Holy Land and of political and religious leaders in the region and across the world to assist them to recognize the common humanity and membership of God's family.

He said people who recognize the humanity in others do not author or perpetrate massacres.

Meanwhile the South African Jewish Board of Deputies has requested a meeting with President Cyril Ramaphosa to discuss the Palestinian-Israeli conflict after South Africa decided to withdraw its ambassador to Israel following the massacre by Israeli forces during a protest along the Gaza border.

The protest for the return of occupied Palestinian land which takes place on the 15th of May annually was given impetus by the controversial opening of the US Embassy in Jerusalem.

The Jewish community in South Africa lashed out at Pretoria for what it calls double standards. Jewish Board spokesperson Zev Krengel said: We are very upset with the stance that the South African government has taken, because we see that as totally double standards.

"No other country has done that to the Jewish state. They have not done that with Syria where 500,000 civilian deaths, three chemical attacks, on its own people, they have done nothing in Kenya, they have done nothing in the DRC (Democratic Republic of Congo), they have done nothing in Zimbabwe

So our view is that this is unbelievably a double standard and we are very upset as the local Jewish community. We have requested a meeting with the Presidency."