Bishop Suheil’s visit following the war.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank every one of you who responded to the heartbreaking appeal from the Anglican Bishop in Jerusalem to raise donations for the Al Ahli hospital in Gaza.
We are thrilled to announce that through your generosity, we have been able to send £60,000 to the Bishop, who has assured us that every penny is being directed to the hospital. Here is a report of the Bishop’s post-conflict visit to Gaza.
Al Ahli Hospital
Reported by Canon John Organ, Chaplain to the Bishop
Bishop Suheil visited Al Ahli Hospital in Gaza and met with staff and patients. Hospital Director Suhaila Tarazi briefed the Bishop on what had transpired during the war and on the situation now, since the ceasefire.
Working around the clock and confronted with challenges ranging from lack of electricity to flying shrapnel, the hospital won the hearts of the Gazan people once again, by providing services when other agencies closed because of the dangers.
Doctors introduced patients to Bishop Suheil and were proud to show how exceptional medical care has led to healing and wholeness.
Patients expressed tremendous gratitude for the hospital’s care and warmth, with many expressing how their religion (almost all patients are Muslim being treated in a Christian hospital) was never an issue but indeed a sign of our shared common humanity, recognising that we are all children of God. Their comments affirmed Bishop Suheil’s conviction that through the institutions of the Diocese, the Gospel is being proclaimed through compassionate care.
Two of the youngest patients, a brother and sister, who were rescued from under the rubble of their destroyed home and brought to the hospital, displayed a playfulness as they walked the campus grounds, which contrasted greatly with their first week at the hospital when they were traumatized and afraid.
Speaking at a training day in the hospital for professionals providing psychosocial support, Bishop Suheil affirmed their crucial role in helping those impacted by trauma and loss, and the importance of their services in helping these people find meaning again in their lives following the life-changing experiences that they had witnessed during the war.
The hospital was only lightly damaged during the conflict. Shrapnel had penetrated the wall of a ward of the operating theatre, but fortunately, no patients were injured and were quickly moved to another ward. A water line and some steam pipes were also damaged but the hospital’s work continued despite these setbacks.
The immediate financial support received from donors such as The McCabe Educational Trust, kept fuel, medicines, and essential supplies flowing enabling the hospital to function efficiently right through the conflict, treating the injured and offering psychosocial support in an impressive and efficient manner.
The many hundreds of families seeking food, water, and safety in the hospital compound were all met graciously and with kindness. We are proud of the way the Ahli staff bring together medical skill and compassionate concern.
Bishop Suheil also visited those areas of Gaza worst affected by the air strikes and artillery. Large apartment buildings have been reduced to rubble, along with other properties. Standing beside the damaged homes, the sense of loss is palpable.
Tragically, it has been reported that sixty extended families were completely lost during the conflict and almost every family on the strip has suffered directly.
Many children have been left without their parents, including the children of a young nurse of Ahli, who died when her house was hit. Her two children survived with minor injuries. They will now be raised by the grandmother, the family’s sole survivor.
Gazans have known much conflict in recent years, but when discussing their experiences of this latest war, many told Bishop Suheil how this conflict was the worst. They could not believe the relentless, and seemingly indiscriminate bombing, which left them feeling helpless, with no place to find safety.
And yet, while unsure of the future, there is, however faint, a hope that Israel and Palestine will find a way to live together. Our prayer is for peace, justice, and a meaningful life for both peoples.
Signs of hope are everywhere. We watched a family renovating their home and trying to move forward. A local restauranteur was setting up an area of the beach as an outdoor cafe in the hope that Gazans would once again enjoy some sense of normality and recreation.
In all of the tragic events of the fifty day conflict, with its tremendous cost in human lives and suffering, Al Ahli Hospital stood tall as a beacon of light letting the people of Gaza know it was and is there for them at all times, and especially and unflinchingly during the worst times.
At the celebration of the Holy Eucharist, in St. Phillip’s Church, located on the hospital grounds, Bishop Suheil spoke of the servanthood of Jesus, who came to serve and not to be served. The Bishop said to the hospital staff gathered, that this is exactly what they do, and especially did, during the conflict.
They gave their all for those needing their care. This, he said, is the work of God in Christ, who through you, and our helping partners, extends healing to others.
Bishop Suheil prayed for the staff, patients, and all the people of Gaza, that there would be lasting peace with justice.
The hospital’s work and our ongoing support of this work continues
For more than 25 years, the McCabe Educational Trust has been creating partnerships with inspiring people we have met on pilgrimage.
A special thank you to McCabe pilgrims who helped us raise £41,098 during August making a total of £189,479 raised so far this year. For more information about our work, do have a look at the Trust pages on the McCabe website.