Children in both Gaza and southern Israel were unable to go to school during the conflict. Copyright: Caritas/Katie Orlinsky
Harout Bedrossian, communications officer for Caritas Jerusalem
Finally it is quiet today. Last night’s ceasefire between Palestinian militants in Gaza and Israel put an end to a week of brutal warfare which caused suffering on both sides of the border. Continue reading
Salem Boulos Sweilem, a father of five, dies from fear when bombs fall near his home, writes Ameen Sabbagh from Caritas Jerusalem.
On the 19th of November 2012, in the middle of the roar of Israeli warplanes that are constantly bombing Gaza. Salem, a close neighbour to the Caritas Health Centre in Shate Refugee Camp died.
On that particular day Salem felt very exhausted and frustrated from lack of sleep, so he went to bed to get some rest. That night Israeli warplanes dropped four missiles each weighing more than a ton on and around the Palestine Stadium, which is about 100 metres from the Caritas Health Centre.
Harout Bedrossian is a communications officer for Caritas Jerusalem. He’s been sending us frequent updates on the situation in Gaza. Here’s the latest.
We’re technically into day 8 of Operation Pillar of Cloud. I woke up very optimistic today after last night’s announcement of a ceasefire being brokered by Egypt, but was very disappointed when I switched on the T.V. this morning and found out that nothing had changed on the ground. The bloodshed, the madness, the slaughter of innocent children, women and civilians is still going on…
The ceasefire, which was announced from Cairo, was supposed to begin at midnight between Monday and Tuesday.
Some twenty minutes after the announcement, the Israeli Air Force (IAF) dropped leaflets in parts of Gaza urging people to evacuate their homes “immediately”.
“For your own safety, you are required to immediately evacuate your homes and move toward Gaza City centre,” leaflets dropped over Gaza City said. Continue reading
Filed under Gaza crisis, War
The Gaza-Israeli conflict is in its sixth day and the bombardments and lack of adequate help is weighing heavily on the Gazan population. Israel also continues to come under rocket attack from militants in Gaza. Today we spoke to Caritas staff on the ground in Gaza, Jerusalem and Ramallah.
Ameen Sabbagh, a coordinator for Caritas in Gaza, said:
“I want to tell you about last night. Israel bombed the building next to the Caritas health centre and damaged the buildings around it. An elderly man who was part of a Christian family in a nearby house was injured and later died of a heart attack from the shock of the attack.
“The situation is very bad. The Caritas health centres are closed and there are just a four or so hospitals open in Gaza. Medicines and emergency essentials are in short supply.
“Caritas staff can’t go to work because there is no transportation to help them get from their homes. People in Gaza are stuck in their houses. It is a big problem because they can’t go shopping for food and access to water is limited. When the conflict started last week people emptied the shops so they wouldn’t be able to buy much even if they could get out of their houses.”
Laboratory technician Wisam Abu kmail packs up the Caritas mobile clinic in Al Sawarha City, an impoverished area lacking medical services in the west of the Gaza Strip. Credit: Katie Orlinsky/Caritas 2010
Caritas Jerusalem’s outgoing director Claudette Habesch says there is an urgent need for humanitarian relief efforts in Gaza in response to an upsurge in attacks between Israeli forces and Palestinian militants. Speaking to Caritas Italy staff in Rome, she expressed deep concern over the rising casualties.
Mrs. Habesch feared the possibility of an end to hostilities between Palestinians and Israelis was becoming more remote. Fighting has intensified in recent days following Israel’s killing of Hamas’s military chief on Wednesday and rocket attacks from Gaza on Israel. Hamas say they have launched rockets from Gaza against Jerusalem – the first time the holy city has been targeted from the Gaza Strip. Continue reading
Part of Caritas work with Palestinians includes healthcare. Copyright: Caritas/Katie Orlinsky
On 29th November, the world is called to show its solidarity with the Palestinian people. Here is a letter from Claudette Habesch, secretary general of Caritas Jerusalem, to mark this special day.
International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian people
Journée internationale de solidarité avec le peuple palestinien
Shocking abuses and killings in Colombia are so under-reported that many Italians aren’t even aware of the country’s decades-long war.
Copyright: Caritas/Michelle Hough
By Michelle Hough, Caritas Internationalis communications officer
What with a police helicopter hovering over the Caritas offices for hours yesterday afternoon, I kept thinking about the film Apocalypse Now rather than writing a blog on Caritas Italiana’s book “Markets of War”*… and it was driving me a bit crazy. Continue reading
The Caritas mobile clinic in Khoza'a, an impoverished area lacking medical services in the south of the Gaza Strip. Credit: Katie Orlinsky/Caritas
By Caritas Jerusalem Communications Department,
Since end of February, Caritas Jerusalem operations in Gaza have been impacted by an oil supply crisis.
“It started with difficulties in communicating with our staff in the field” said Jameel Khoury, health department coordinator based in Jerusalem. “Phones lines and emails were not functioning due to power cuts”.
Now, the Caritas Jerusalem’s health centre in Gaza has had to stop some of the mobile clinic shifts in isolated areas of the Gaza Strip as service stations have run out of petrol to fuel the clinic’s van. The health centre’s generator is empty, and the staff members are working without power most of the time.
By Claudette Habesch, Secretary General of Caritas Jerusalem
Since 1948, we Palestinians have experienced dispossession and exile. Our diaspora counts today more than 9 million people all over the world.
Since 1967, we Palestinians continue to live under occupation. Checkpoints, the separation wall, lack of access to farmlands and humiliation are part of our daily life.
For years, we plead for justice so that peace can come to the two peoples of the Holy Land. For years, we are asking for justice and an independent Palestinian state.
After decades of fruitless negotiations and faced with a shrinking homeland, we felt compelled to go to the United Nations to ask for the full recognition of the State of Palestine.
We hope the nations of the world will respond to our call for the respect and dignity of the Palestinian people at the General Assembly of the United Nations.
On this day of Solidarity, we wish no less than justice and peace.
Thanking you for your prayers, your solidarity, and your courage to stand with the rights of the Palestinian people.
Children in Gaza City suffer poverty, exculsion and fear. Caritas Jeruslaem believes recongition of Palestinian statehood at the United Nations will pay peace dividends both sides of the border. Credit: Katie Orlinsky/Caritas 2010
By Claudette Habesch, General Secretary of Caritas Jerusalem
Greetings from the Holy City of the Resurrection, City of Hope where life conquered death.
This week will see an important event for us all in Palestine and Israel. The Palestinian Authority will request the United Nations to vote on the recognition of Palestine as a full member state.
At Caritas Jerusalem, we have seen the ravages of the occupation on the people for the past 44 years. There is the destruction of houses and crops, the discrimination for access to resources and services, the fear of random arrest and the creeping despair that eventually we might lose the our land to Israeli settlers. The feeling of injustice and humiliation is in every heart. If Palestine becomes a UN member, Palestinians will regain their dignity. They will be considered as equals in peace negotiations and when defending their cause in the UN forum. They will have access to the International Court of Justice to protect the rights of their land. They will finally believe in a peaceful future in Palestine for their children.
A positive vote will not result in an instant peace agreement between Israel and Palestine. However, this is a real opportunity to restart the negotiations. The vote is a chance for us Palestinians to demonstrate our determination to achieve a rue stable and democratic state living peacefully alongside Israel. It is also a chance for the international community to show that they truly support the two-state solution and the principle of self-determination of people enshrined in the United Nations Charter.
Please show your support to Palestine’s bid to the UN, write to your government, sign petitions and take part in peaceful demonstrations.
We do pray with all our heart for the voices of peace and justice to prevail on both Palestinian and Israeli sides. We pray for Jerusalem to witness a true miracle – from a City of Hope to become a City of Peace.