When we were putting together our autumn 2002 newsletter, in which this article appears, journalists were once again debating the legitimacy of
Israel's use of F16 bombers to 'target' and kill without trial Palestinians
whom it regards as criminals. Inevitably with such a massive weapon
against an individual, family and neighbours were killed and injured in
the process. Incidents such as this have a considerable impact on the work of Al Ahli Hospital in Gaza City, which we continue to support.
While working conditions continue to be difficult, the life of the hospital carries on. It has recently
created a new Emergency Response Team, as they are anticipating heavy
casualties if Gaza is invaded in the way the West Bank has been, because the
area is so tightly packed with people. Ahli has also been designated by the
Ministry of Health as the first line recipient for overflow of casualties
after the Ministry's own hospital. The Emergency Response Team is trained
to react to a call for assistance within moments notice.
In addition, Al Ahli is involved in organising medical outreach clinics that
it brings to the neediest areas, working in conjunction with the local
community. These clinics are needed in areas of Gaza where each village is
under separate siege (due to being close to an Israeli settlement) with
entry of all supplies, medications, people and merchandise requiring
permits. These villages have populations of 10,000 plus, so medical care is
badly needed. Al Ahli will provide the personnel, and the local community
will provide the location.
Suhaila Tarazi, executive director of Ahli Arab Hospital comments, "to live
under occupation and civil unrest is very hard. So many times we are unable
to receive medical and hospital supplies. Everything is connected to the
Israeli military forces and they can stop anything they want. They make no
differentiation between humanitarian shipments such as medications and other
supplies. It is all tightly controlled and we spend hours working on
receiving the things we need to care for those who come to Ahli sometimes
we succeed and sometimes we don't. For example, we have not been able to
send out any pathological specimens for several months. Imagine if you had
a biopsy for cancer and were not able to have it evaluated. There are ever
increasing obstacles to providing the basics of health care to the people of
"Recently we received an ambulance donated by supporters in the US. It took
us three months before we were able to bring it across the checkpoint.
Eventually the company we purchased the ambulance from was required to
remove all the equipment from the ambulance. The ambulance itself was
allowed to pass through the Eres crossing, while the equipment was required
to pass through the Karni crossing, kilometers away. What does this have to
do with security?"
Do continue to pray for the valuable work of all the staff at the hospital, and if you would like details on how to financially support Al Ahli, either contact the office (email@example.com) or go to the 'support' page.