Episcopal Church Statement on Al-Ahli Arab Hospital
[This statement, issued by The Episcopal Church (USA) on Dec. 22, originally appeared on The Episcopal Church’s website, here.]
Earlier this week, the Israeli military forced the closure of Al-Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza, a ministry of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem, as well as detaining medical staff. On Wednesday, WHO and UN staff visited Al-Ahli and determined that northern Gaza is without a functioning hospital. They described horrifying circumstances at Al-Ahli, with patients dying slowly and in pain, crying out for water and without medical care.
Throughout this conflict, Al-Ahli has endured multiple bombings, a lack of fuel, water, and medicine, and the most dire circumstances imaginable. At times, Al-Ahli has been the only hospital functioning in all of northern Gaza, serving many more patients than the staff are equipped to adequately care for. The medical staff have done all they can to continue to carry out the mission of the hospital and serve those in need despite impossible circumstances.
The Episcopal Church condemns the repeated attacks on hospitals and targeting of medical workers, just as we condemn all actions throughout this conflict that kill and wound innocent civilians, especially babies and children, the elderly, and other medically vulnerable people. We call for the immediate release of those detained, and an end to the targeting of hospitals and the detention of medical staff. We ask for immediate humanitarian access to ensure patients have the care they need including trained staff, food, water, and medicine.
The Episcopal Church grieves with all who suffer during this conflict and laments the daily devastation and human suffering. We continue to offer our prayers, our solidarity, and resources to support the vital mission of the work of Al-Ahli, other institutions of the Diocese, and all medical facilities in the region.
We pray fervently for peace, for the peacemakers, and urge our leaders to do everything possible to advocate for a ceasefire, release of hostages, and urgently needed humanitarian care.