The World Council of Churches (WCC) has expressed grave concern upon reports from the Palestinian Red Crescent of a concrete request from Israeli authorities for immediate evacuation of Al Quds Hospital in Gaza.
“There are currently 400 patients there,” noted WCC moderator Bishop Dr. Heinrich Bedford-Strohm. “In addition, 12,000 civilians have sought refuge there.”
Bedford-Strohm said the WCC takes this call very seriously and urges the Israeli government and military to refrain from doing anything that endangers the lives of innocent civilians in a protected space such as a hospital.
“Hospitals are protected under international law,” said Bedford-Strohm. “Any attack on them would be a war crime.”
At the same time, Bedford-Strohm called on Hamas to refrain from anything that uses these protected spaces as a shield for its own military activities or command structures. “That, too, is a war crime under international law,” said Bedford-Strohm. “The killing of innocent people must stop.”
He urged opening the door to a just peace for both Israelis and Palestinians. “In the hour of worst suffering, the urgency is all the greater,” he said.