The conflict between Israel and Hamas and the terrible suffering in the overcrowded territory of Gaza is very much on our minds. As Trish and the Nazareth Work Party continue their voluntary maintenance work at Nazareth Hospital, we are aware of the terrible conditions with which the hospitals of Gaza are contending just a few hours’ drive further south.

Media blackouts in Gaza make it difficult to comprehend the enormity of what is taking place there, but a respected colleague has drawn my attention to a letter regarding the Anglican Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza, addressed to its American supporters.

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 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

Many people I speak to about this situation feel so utterly helpless. There is so much darkness and so few candles. Yet light the candles we must. For Trish, it is wielding a paintbrush in the name of peace. Others of us, far removed and remote, yet stirred deeply within, must find ways to light candles as well.

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