Gaza

It is sad news that I hear that Israel is invading the Gaza strip. It is utter disbelief that I read that Israel have decided to suspend bombing in Gaza… for 3 hours a day. While this “humane” act is to allow shops to open, funerals to be held, and international aid agencies to evacuate the city, would it not be more humane to stop this bombing to allow shops to remain open, to allow the only funerals be for those who have died of old age, and for the international aid agencies to not be there because there is no threat?

The wondering pilgrim, the priest at my former church, posted a letter on his blog from The Rev. Charles Cloughen, Jr., who was able to speak with Suhalia Tarazi, director of the Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza. This gives us some idea as to what is happening in Gaza.

Dear Missioners,

I was able to speak to Suhalia Tarazi , Director of the Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza this morning.
I took notes and I am sharing with you as best I can her situation in Gaza.

The situation is terrible. The injured are in their homes and unable to get to the hospital and the International Red Cross can’t reach them. Gaza is now divided into three areas. 20% of the staff including 2 doctors are now unable to get to the hospital. Unfortunately a bomb went off in Jerusalem Square, right outside the hospital , only 30 meters away and it blew a hole in the hospital wall.
One of the aid’s husbands was unable to reach his children. Later he discover that 1 child died and other members are all injured because a bomb destroyed a neighboring building.
The 19 year old son of one of the surgeons volunteered to work in the government ambulance. He was killed when his ambulance was hit by a missile. Three ambulances have been hit by Israeli missiles , five have died.
There is no electricity and no water. Fortunately the International Red Cross has provided Ahli Hospital with some food.
It is terrible and not safe to walk on the street.
After the invasion , Ahli Hospital on Sunday received 17 cases. Twelve were admitted to the hospital and 2 to government hospitals.
Today Monday morning 5 cases were received with 4 admitted for surgery. One doctor has slept in the hospital for the last 4 nights. Our staff is now working 2 -12 hour shifts, two shifts no days off. Streets are covered with blood. – bloody time.
Staff members have taken people in their homes, with 20-30 people for refuge. The ambulance driver has 80 living in his home.
We all have received leaflets and telephone calls ” you have to leave your home, we will attack it” Where to go for the 700,000 people in Gaza City?”

I feel very fortunate and blessed to be able to speak to Suhalia and I have promised her that I will tell her story and the story of the innocents. Thank you for all you are doing to circulate these messages. Please feel free to forward them the family and friends.

I offer her hope and encouragement and our commitment to help, with prayers and financial support. Remember tax deductible gifts may be sent to the American Friends of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem, PO Box 240, Orange, CA 92859, or on line at http://www.americanfriends-jerusalem.org

I will continue to keep you up to date on this catastrophe happening in Gaza. If I can be of help please don’t hesitate to call or email me.

Peace, Love and Joy ,

Charles

The Rev. Charles Cloughen, Jr.
President Emeritus, American Friends of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem

I’ve been watching a bit of M*A*S*H during my holiday. Far too much, as the characters invaded my dreams last night. Perhaps that’s why this letter gets to me. In the 50 years since the Korean war, the 95 years since World War 1, we haven’t found a better way to deal with conflict that doesn’t result in casualties.

“To World War None.”