“While F-16 jets and Apache bombers are firing artillery into the strip, we are in a state of emergency. We desperately need essential medicine at the hospital, yet our stores will cover only one month’s usage,” says Dr. Suhaila Tarazi, director of Al Ahli Arab, Gaza’s only Christian hospital.
“The hospital is also in need of fuel to operate the hospital generator. The permanent lack of electricity in Gaza due to the Israeli destruction of the only available power station, and its total siege on Gaza obliged the hospital to impose its austerity plan in the usage of power. The hospital generator is working only for couple of hours each day, usually during surgeries and some time during the night. We also depend on the hospital’s built-in reservoir for water supplies,” says Dr. Suhaila Tarazi.
Israel must withdraw from Gaza
Norwegian Church Aid has previously given support to this Anglican hospital in Gaza, and the organisation has now recognised that the situation demands a comprehensive humanitarian response. Norwegian Church Aid is also deeply concerned that the current situation will lead to a further deterioration in relations between Israel and Palestine.
“It is hard to understand how Israel’s operations can be seen as militarily necessary. Current events are only serving to exacerbate violent feelings on both sides of the conflict. We urge Israel to adhere to international law both by ensuring that lifesaving equipment is allowed into Gaza, and by withdrawing immediately from Gaza and returning to the negotiating table. Peace negotiations must begin at once,” says hans Morten Haugen, Norwegian Church Aid’s Resident Representative in Jerusalem.
4.5 million to Gaza
Norwegian Church Aid is currently awaiting feedback from the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs regarding an application for 4.5 million Norwegian Crowns (roughly US$ 720,000) in funding towards medical and food supplies for Gaza, of which roughly one third is intended to benefit the Al Ahli Arab hospital – a hospital that is having to take one day at a time.
“Under this very harsh situation we live, but we still have strong faith that God will never leave us. He is our only saviour and refuge,” says hospital director Tarazi from Gaza.