THE Anglican Archbishop in Jerusalem, the Most Revd Hosam Naoum, has issued an urgent appeal for financial support for Al-Ahli Hospital, in Gaza City, which comes under the umbrella of his diocese.
His appeal came at the start of a week that saw Israel carry out dozens of air strikes on the Gaza Strip in retaliation for the firing of hundreds of rockets from Gaza into Israel, until a ceasefire came into force at 2 a.m. local time on Friday. At least 232 Palestinians and 12 Israelis were killed during the latest conflict, with widespread destruction of buildings in Gaza City and elsewhere in the territory.
The number of wounded being treated at Al-Ahli and elsewhere is unknown. Archbishop Naoum said that the diocese was continuing its “Christian mission of bringing healing to the wounded, relief to those who have lost their homes and livelihoods, and comfort to those who mourn the loss of loved ones.
“Al-Ahli Hospital in Gaza has been on the frontlines of these relief efforts, becoming a beacon of hope to those trying to remain alive under such dire circumstances.”
“But they are overwhelmed”, the Archbishop continued, “and in desperate need of upwards of $1.6 million [£1.1 million] to obtain fuel for hospital generators, and to purchase emergency medicine and medical supplies so that the doctors and nurses who are working around the clock can meet the crushing flow of injured and traumatised victims in this conflict.”
Archbishop Naoum issued an appeal “to our international partners and all people of goodwill to support this humanitarian mission through their generous contributions to Al-Ahli Hospital, enabling them to show forth the compassionate love of Christ in real and tangible ways in these desperate circumstances”.
He also referred to the “continuing conflicts between protesters and police over the pending evictions in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood, of which St George’s Cathedral is a part”. Four Palestinian families are fighting eviction orders from a Jewish settler group in a case over disputed ownership of land and property rights dating back to the British Mandate era and earlier. The Israeli High Court is expected to give a ruling in June.
After the ceasefire, a Hamas leader said that Israel had pledged to “lift their hand off Sheikh Jarrah and Al-Aqsa Mosque”. Israel, however, denied any such undertaking.
Responding to news of the ceasefire, William Bell, Christian Aid’s head of Middle East, said: “We welcome the ceasefire and hope and pray that all parties abide by it. One life lost is too many. But now it is imperative that the international community afford all help necessary to support the immediate humanitarian needs of the Palestinians in Gaza and begin the long process of reconstruction.
“The best way to begin this process would be to lift the blockade on Gaza, which for too long has stifled life for two million people. And there must be clear political will to address the underlying causes of why the cycle of violence repeats itself so often.
“There can be no going back to the status quo ante, in the effort to build a lasting peace based on justice, dignity and equality for all.”
Click here to donate to the Archbishop’s appeal