With a very heavy heart, AFEDJ sadly reports that Ahli Arab Hospital was bombed on the night of October 17, killing at over 400 civilians according to the Ministry of Health, and wounding countless others, including staff, patients, and refugees, many of them children, who were using Ahli as shelter and refuge.
Ahli Arab hospital is a singular haven of peace in Gaza. Much more than just a “hospital,” Ahli is a community resource. When Gazans are desperate for care, sanctuary, or aid, even help with purchasing backpacks or school supplies for their children, they turn to Ahli knowing that they would be greeted with compassion and empathy. Ahli Hospital extends their ministry of healing beyond their doors, empowering women, providing safe transportation for the poor to receive care, and psychosocial support for traumatized children affected by war on the border towns. The impact they have on the people of Gaza is immense. People from all backgrounds seek Ahli for refuge. Exemplifying what it means to “live the Gospel,” Ahli has always been a sacred sanctuary, a beacon of hope, and a pillar of the community for all Gazans. Serving everyone regardless of ethnicity, religious affiliation, or ability to pay, Ahli is respected by all of Gaza, from the most hardened to the most vulnerable. Our hearts break and join the multitudes grieving today around the world over this horrendous, senseless violence.
The unconscionable, merciless attack on the many helpless civilians occurred on the the same day that the Archbishop Hosam Naoum, along with the Patriarchs and Heads of 13 Churches, set apart as a day of global fasting and prayer for peace in the Holy Land. Just hours before the fateful bombing, the refugee children who sought safe shelter at Ahli Hospital gathered in the courtyard of Ahli Hospital together to sing for peace (“Salaam”), in a moving moment of solidarity and joy amidst the darkness. Just hours later, many of them were killed in the airstrike that took the lives of hundreds of innocents, an attack deemed “a war crime against humanity” By Archbishop Hosam.
At the time of this writing, regretfully, AFEDJ does not have any information on the whereabouts of hospital staff or reports on their safety, nor do we know the extent of the damage to the infrastructure of the hospital. We do know that Director Suhaila Tarazi evacuated South before the attack, and is presumed safe. We will continue to offer updates as we receive confirmed information from the Diocese of Jerusalem.
ABOUT AHLI HOSPITAL Founded in 1882, Ahli was a Baptist Medical Mission from 1954 to 1982, at which time operations were taken over by the Anglican Diocese of Jerusalem (1982-present). Ahli Arab Hospital is the oldest hospital and the only Christian hospital in Gaza. A humanitarian organization of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem in the center of Gaza City, Ahli is a haven of peace and hope in one of the world’s most troubled areas. Ahli adopts a rights-based approach and provides healthcare regardless of faith, gender, social class or political affiliation. In Arabic, its name means “The Arab People’s Hospital.”
HOW YOU CAN HELP Secure online donations to support Ahli Hospital may be made at www.afedj.org/give/give-online or by check to AFEDJ, 25 Old Kings Highway North, Suite 13, Darien, CT, 06820. AFEDJ ensures that 100% of designated funds go directly to the specified institution.
Bearing Witness Session 2: Healing: Interview with Ahli Hospital’s Leaders, Suhaila Tarazi and Dr. Maher; Hear directly from Ahli Hospital leadership as they tell the hospital’s story and discuss the important community role Ahli Hospital holds in this heartfelt video, filmed on location in Gaza City.Find more Ahli Hospital “Bearing Witness” videos here. For Bearing Witness information, contact Program Director Diana Branton at firstname.lastname@example.org.