October 17, 2023
Lord have mercy. Christ have mercy. Lord have mercy.
Today Christians around the world followed the call of the Patriarchs and Heads of Churches in Jerusalem for a day of prayer and fasting for peace and reconciliation and an end to the war between Israel and Hamas. Even as we pray, we find ourselves confronting immense pain and a devastating death toll after the bombing of Al-Ahli Arab Hospital, an Anglican hospital in Gaza. Al-Ahli Arab Hospital has provided a critical and courageous ministry of health care provision to serve the people of Gaza for many years.
We are shocked, outraged, and devastated by an air strike on the Anglican Al-Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza City, leaving at least 500 dead and thousands more injured or unaccounted for. Our hearts are deeply grieved at hearing this news. We express our deepest condolences and ask that the Lord be with the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem, staff, and all people affected by the bombing of Al-Ahli Hospital. We join in lament and prayers that God will come alongside and comfort all people who are suffering, and support Archbishop Hosam Naoum, the Anglican Archbishop of Jerusalem, in his pastoral care and leadership.
This attack is a grave violation of international law, and it is an affront to our shared humanity. This attack is the second on Al-Ahli hospital in the past few days. These attacks on civilians, including children and the elderly, must stop. The indiscriminate bombing of places of refuge must stop. The dehumanization of vulnerable people must stop. The people of Gaza are suffering, and they have almost no options for much-needed medical treatment or surgeries, or for receiving pain and other medications.
The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby issued a statement in response to the October 14th bombing of Al-Ahli Hospital that was damaged by Israeli rocket fire. He warned then that hospitals and patients in Gaza were in “grave danger” and appealed that the evacuation order issued by Israel on hospitals in northern Gaza be reversed.
CMEP calls on President Joe Biden in his meetings with Middle Eastern leaders, including with Prime Minister Netanyahu, to demand the establishment of humanitarian corridors in Gaza to allow for needed humanitarian aid to flow to populations in critical need. All efforts must be made during the President’s visit to pursue an immediate ceasefire and begin to address the root causes of the suffering.
We once again urge the President and Congress to:
1. Publicly call for ceasefire, de-escalation, and restraint by all sides.
2. Call on all parties to abide by the laws of war, including the Geneva Conventions and customary international law.
3. Prioritize steps to secure the immediate release of hostages and ensure international protection for civilians.
Atrocities against civilians are never justified. We join with the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem as they declare a day of mourning in all of their churches and institutions. We heed their call to stand in solidarity, mourning with them for the heinous assault on their dedicated staff and vulnerable patients.