Christian Aid

Lebanon's new disabled

The fighting may be over, for now, between Hezbollah and the Israeli army but the scars of the devastation caused in Lebanon may never heal. Beyond the destroyed buildings, collapsed bridges and the estimated million pieces of unexploded ordnance littering the countryside, are the personal stories of injury, disfigurement and disability. ‘There are children who have been left disabled by the war and are now in wheelchairs,’ said Nizar Amine of Christian Aid partner Mouvement Social, which is repairing three schools damaged by bombing in the southern Lebanese village of Srifa. 

Najdeh closes Lebanon nursery after Israeli attack on Ein Hilweh camp

A Christian Aid partner in Lebanon has suspended work in a nursery it runs for Palestinian refugees after an Israeli missile attack last night. According to media reports, Lebanese and Palestinian officials said an Israeli gunship shelled the Ein el-Hilweh camp on the outskirts of the town of Sidon, south of the capital Beirut, killing at least one person. The Israeli military said the attack was an air strike that targeted a house in the camp used by Hezbollah guerrillas. Ein el-Hilweh is the largest of Lebanon’s 12 Palestinian refugee camps and is home to about 75,000 Palestinian refugees and their descendants who were displaced by the 1948 Arab-Israeli war. 

"Please show the reality" say Lebanon's affected

Volunteers and staff from a Christian Aid-supported organisation working to help those displaced by the conflict in Lebanon say the world needs to understand the depths of the humanitarian crisis unfolding there. “The news isn’t showing the reality of what is happening here,” said Pascale Kolakez, a psychologist speaking from a Beirut school that Christian Aid partner Mouvement Social (MS) has converted into a shelter for displaced people. “Please show the reality. People have lost everything, even the future of their children. What’s happening in Lebanon is a crime against humanity.” Those working with MS have chosen to stay and help those most in need. 

Voices from the Middle East

The current military operations take Lebanon back to war times, bringing with it bitter memories of 1994 and 1996 with all its massive displacement and destruction of infrastructure. Since yesterday, Israel conducted bloody attacks and raids targeting infrastructure all over Lebanon in response to Hezbollah’s action. Israel has bombarded the Damascus International Road, most of the major bridges linking the south to other regions, and villages in the Beqa’ and south. All three airports in the country were bombed, especially Beirut International Airport which is now closed. Israel has instigated a strict sea blockade off the coast of Lebanon. 

Gaza invasion targets civilian infrastructure

Israeli tanks have invaded the Palestinian territory of the Gaza Strip, following the capture of an Israeli soldier by Palestinian militants on Sunday. This comes at the end of a month during which 34 Palestinian civilians have been killed in Gaza in Israeli military attacks or ‘targeted assassinations’ of suspected militants. This includes 10 children. Last night Israel also hit a power station which supplies 65% of Gaza’s electricity and also the water pumping station. “The message to the civilian population of Gaza could not be clearer – collective punishment is part of Israel’s military strategy.” 

Aid cuts will hit Palestinians

The Middle East Quartet said on Monday that a new Hamas-led government must commit to non-violence, recognise Israel and accept current peace agreements, or it could lose the financial support it receives from the international community. Christian Aid is deeply concerned about the potentially crippling effect on Palestinian household economies if this aid was cut. Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories is the main cause of Palestinian poverty. While aid is a necessary lifeline for the Palestinians, it can only address the symptoms of the occupation rather than bring about a lasting solution to poverty. 

Sharon confirms fears of further Israeli expansion in the West Bank

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has vowed to keep expanding Israeli settlements on Palestinian land barely days after Israel’s withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and four smaller West Bank settlements. In a recent interview with the Jerusalem Post, Sharon stated his intention to expand the 400,000-strong Israeli population of the West Bank settlements, incorporate the larger blocs of Ariel and Ma’ale Adumim into the state of Israel, and to link the latter to Jerusalem. “There will be building in the settlement blocs,” Sharon declared. “Each government since 1967…has seen strategic importance in specific areas [in the Palestinian territories]. I will build.” He went on to say that Ma’ale Adumim will continue to grow and be connected to Israel and that the settlement of Ariel would be annexed as “part of Israel for ever”. 

Jerusalem and Bethlehem divided by Separation Barrier

The Israeli government has revealed its plans for the route of the separation barrier it is building around Jerusalem. It will cut East Jerusalem and the largest Israeli settlement in the West Bank off from the rest of the West Bank, and will divide Bethlehem. Christian Aid’s Palestinian and Israeli partners say the route will jeopardise peace talks and argue that the decision amounts to a unilateral attempt to prejudge the borders of a final solution to the conflict and whereas. The Israeli government says the barrier is for security reasons. Israel has an absolute right to defend its citizens from attack. But the route of the barrier — snaking deep into the West Bank will mean lands claimed by Palestinians for their future state will lie on the Israeli side of the barrier. 

Israeli assault on Gaza leaves scores dead and many homeless

The humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip has drastically deteriorated in the past few days during one of the biggest Israeli assaults on the Occupied Palestinian Territories for years. Israeli troops mounted Operation Days of Penitence on 1 October, three days after two Israeli children were killed in the Israeli settlement town of Sderot from a rocket fired from the Palestinian Jabalya refugee camp in Gaza. About 2,000 Israeli troops, with 200 tanks and armoured vehicles, have been deployed in the area. Hundreds of Palestinian homes have been demolished and acres of agricultural land destroyed, according to British media reports. 

Israeli soldiers shoot at Christian Aid observers

A Christian Aid delegation has been fired upon by the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) in the Gaza Strip. The fact-finding team was visiting Rafah in the south to see the extent of the destruction from last month’s military incursions. The fact-finding team was visiting Rafah in the south to see the extent of the destruction from last month’s military incursions. Sarah Malian, communications officer for the Middle East, says she saw the impact of bullets three meters from where she was standing. ‘We were all very shaken,’ she said. ‘I can’t believe they fired at us. We were clearly civilians. We were surrounded by children at the time.’