Gaza (Agenzia Fides) - There are almost 1,300 Palestinians, the vast majority of Muslims, who have taken shelter in the Greek Orthodox church of Saint Porphyrius in Gaza in order to escape the bombing of the Israeli army. Other seven hundred have found refuge in the Holy Family Catholic Church. In these days their survival depends mainly on the efforts of rescue and assistance carried out by Caritas Jerusalem which contributes to the emergency represented by more than 130 thousand displaced people (of whom 70 thousand massed in UN schools) who had to leave their homes since the beginning of the Israeli military "Protective Edge" operation. So far, there have been over 700 Palestinians who have died, and healthcare facilities in the Gaza Strip are unable to cope with the huge amount of casualties (more than 4 thousand).
"Our 18 operators are working tirelessly in that terrible situation, with our mobile medical centers that operate in schools and distribute survival kits to families massed in schools, in collaboration with the United Nations" refers Father Raed Abusahliah, Director of Caritas Jerusalem to Fides Agency. "Since yesterday - adds the Palestinian priest living in Ramallah – for a week we have the responsibility of taking care of the refugees present in the Orthodox Church and the Catholic school. We distribute food and hot meals, milk and basic necessities for the children, fuel for electric generators. Meanwhile, with Caritas Internationalis, we have launched an appeal for projects and long-term initiatives to be started immediately after the cease-fire. Funds will be needed (a million 130 thousand euro)".
Next Saturday and Sunday in all parishes in Jordan, Palestine and Israel the faithful will pray for the return of peace and there will be fundraising on behalf of the people of Gaza. "In this regard - says Fr. Raed - I launch a humble appeal to Pope Francis: may you convene a vigil of prayer and fasting for peace in the Holy Land, as you did for Syria. All the people who inhabit this land, the land of Jesus, are tired of living in fear and pain". (GV) (Agenzia Fides 24/07/2014)