Back in Jerusalem after a three week visit to the US, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem Fouad Twal rushed on Wednesday, 30 July 2014 to the bedside of the wounded from Gaza Strip, hospitalized in Jerusalem.
While away from the scene of the conflict in Gaza since its outbreak, Patriarch Fouad Twal felt very concerned with the distressing situation during a visit to the White House where he was received by the Chief of Cabinet and advisor of President Obama. He pointed out that: “his pain was felt deeper by the fact of being away while men and women of his Patriarchate are in deep anguish”
Coming back from his trip, the Patriarch went quickly to the bedside of some of the wounded under treatment at two hospitals in Jerusalem: St Joseph French Hospital and Islamic Makassed Hospital on Mount of Olives, being unable to proceed to Gaza where the small Catholic parish, like the rest of the population needs moral and physical support to overcome the effects of war and pressure on the people launched by Israel’s army and Hamas. “Inasmuch as my distress and grief are great, inasmuch as my joy grows higher, seeing evidences of solidarity and charity observed by nuns who accompanied children from Gaza to Jerusalem hospitals” .
The number of wounded hospitalized in Jerusalem is small, compared to the huge number of wounded in the Gaza Strip, now estimated at some 7,000. Most of the hospitalized patients are less than 20 year old. Babies, children and the youth suffer from serious traumas which will for sure render them handicapped for the rest of their lives. “It is the outcome of a massacre. Civilian innocents, mothers with their children, their babies, who have nothing to do with politics”.
Very touched by the visit, by the fainting looks of families and wounded, Patriarch Twal thinks also of the future through two questions: “Why all that blind violence? What would the wounded do after their release from hospital?” As a matter of fact, most of them have nothing more left in Gaza, everything are in ruins. They don’t have a residence card any longer. Their future is unknown.
Finally, it is a plea for international solidarity which the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem sends out. Multi-sided relief helped to reconstruct several houses. But today these houses are shelled, destroyed, the drama is repeated. Needs are both overwhelming and pressing.