Gaza needs our prayers and support
“There’s no sleeping in Gaza.” – Suhaila Tarazi, director of Ahli Arab Hospital
The disaster happening in Palestine and Israel is heartbreaking and tragic. Violence between Jews and Arabs is spreading throughout the region and rockets and bombs have hit hundreds of targets in Gaza and southern Israel. Please pray for the people of Israel and Palestine.
I spoke with Suhaila Tarazi, the director of Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza City, yesterday. I’d called her earlier and left a message. She called back in the early evening – the middle of the night in Gaza. I told Suhaila we could talk another time and she told me, “there’s no sleeping in Gaza.”
Throughout our call I heard explosions in the background. Suhaila said to me, “I’ve lived through three wars in Gaza and I’ve seen nothing like this. The destruction is everywhere. I can’t describe the horror and fear we feel. For the first time I am depressed and terrified.”
Suhaila went on, “The innocent in Gaza and Israel are dying. Men, women and children who have done nothing wrong. We ask God to inspire the war decision makers of Hamas and Israel and Gaza to stop this new tragedy as there will be no winner in this war. We all are losers.”
Suhaila told me about a retired employee of Ahli Hospital whose apartment – just a block from Suhaila’s home – was destroyed by a bomb. She told Suhaila, “I saved all my life for this home. I lost my future in a minute.”
The bombings in both Israel and Gaza are in civilian areas. As I write this 119 have been killed in Gaza and eight in Israel. Twenty-seven of the dead are children. Hundreds, soon to be thousands, have been injured.
The healthcare system in Gaza, where fewer than 3% have received a COVID vaccination (in contrast to more than 60% in Israel – the highest level in the world), has been overwhelmed by the pandemic. Many clinics and hospitals closed during the pandemic and never reopened. Hospitals already are at full occupancy with COVID patients. There are severe shortages of medical supplies, medicine and blood. This escalating conflict pushes Gaza’s healthcare system way past the breaking point.
Suhaila told me that bombs fell near Ahli Hospital and blew out some windows. But the hospital is open, trying desperately to serve its usual patients and cope with the arrival of casualties of bombings. Ahli opened a new surgery ward on Wednesday to treat the wounded and maimed. There is no electricity in Gaza now, so the hospital must operate its generators around the clock. Ahli needs medical supplies, medicines and fuel to power its generators.
Ahli Hospital and its courageous leader need your help. They desperately need financial support to keep operating during this crisis. Please give all that you can. Please give now.
Yesterday there were moments of joy in Jerusalem at the installation of the Most Rev. Hosam Naoum as the archbishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem. In his sermon at St. George’s Cathedral, Archbishop Hosam spoke about Christians living an abundant life.
“As people of God we are called to be prophetic by being God’s hands and feet, to bring about life with abundance. Together in fellowship we must engage the troubled world around us, standing up for these virtues as Christ’s disciples. We must not do it alone, but rather collectively.
“The Diocese of Jerusalem and the entire world face great challenges – social, geopolitical, financial – and those most recently associated with the pandemic, ethnic violence in the streets, and deadly air strikes against Gaza and Israel. The church as a whole must work for a just and lasting peace here in this land that is holy for us all.”
In the midst of this most recent tragedy in the Holy Land, Archbishop Hosam’s words remind us of our Christian duty to stand up to prejudice, discrimination and hatred and to dedicate ourselves to helping those who suffer.
The brutality and horror of this conflict are hard for most of us to imagine. You and I are fortunate that we have a direct way to help the people of Gaza by helping the remarkable Christian witness of Ahli Arab Hospital. Our beloved friend Suhaila and her hospital team know you as their American friend. They pray for you. And they are deeply grateful for your financial support.
Every dollar you give goes directly to Ahli Hospital. We get the funds there immediately. The gift you make today will buy supplies and medicines and support the brave nurses, doctors and staff at Ahli tomorrow. Please give generously. Please let the people of Gaza know they are not forgotten.
Executive Director, AFEDJ
Please remember Suhaila, her staff at Ahli Arab Hospital, and all people in the region affected by the current violence and strife in your prayer. A Litany for the Restoration of Peace the Holy Land is available for on our website at www.afedj.org/litanyforpeace.
Please consider using it this Sunday in the Prayers of the People in your congregation and across your diocese.