CNEWA Canada

CNEWA-Supported Christian Hospital Hit in Airstrike

Al Ahli Arab Hospital, a CNEWA-supported Christian hospital in Gaza City, was hit by a rocket on 17 October, killing at least 500, according to Gaza’s Health Ministry. Officials in Israel and Gaza are blaming each other for the strike.

As the Israel-Hamas war rages on, Gaza’s civilian population has been overwhelmed by airstrikes, and many have fled south after Israel issued an evacuation order. But an evacuation is not so simple for Gaza’s population of more than two million, who live in a densely populated area half the size of New York City, resulting in people taking shelter in supposed safe spaces in northern Gaza City.

The hospital was sheltering more than 5,000 people at the time of the strike, said Joseph Hazboun, regional director for CNEWA’s Jerusalem office.

“The rocket hit the children’s playground and the courtyard in front of the library, at the back of the hospital,” he reported. “The area hit was the place where most of the psychosocial program activities were organized in recent years.”

Such psychosocial programs have been funded by CNEWA for years. CNEWA has also supported the hospital’s medical treatment for children, breast cancer and bone density screenings, kidney stone treatment and other medical care, and has supplied renewable energy and fuel for generators. In past periods of war in Gaza, the hospital welcomed the displaced and, with CNEWA’s support, provided them with meals, water and blankets.

The United Nations World Health Organization issued a statement strongly condemning the attack on the hospital, one of 20 in the north of the Gaza Strip facing evacuation orders from the Israeli military. 

“The order for evacuation has been impossible to carry out given the current insecurity, critical condition of many patients, and lack of ambulances, staff, health system bed capacity, and alternative shelter for those displaced,” said the W.H.O. statement.

The W.H.O. called for the “immediate active protection of civilians and health care,” for evacuation orders to be reversed and for all parties to abide by international humanitarian law, which includes the protection of all health care facilities.

Learn more about Al Ahli Arab Hospital in our media:   

A Letter From Gaza | Supporting Youth in Gaza After War | Eradicating Kidney Stones in Gaza | 2014 Update From Gaza

Olivia Poust is assistant editor of ONE.

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