While an agreement is being sought to stop the bombing of Gaza and launching of missiles into Israel, the humanitarian organizations present in Gaza have set up camps for the injured and for families who have lost their homes. If before the outbreak of hostilities life in the Gaza Strip was difficult, now it has become unbearable.
At the moment the Strip (about 40 kilometers long and 10 wide) has approximately 1.8 million Palestinian Arab inhabitants, of whom more than half are minors. More than two-thirds of the population live in eight refugee camps, and it is one of the most problematic areas in all of the Middle East.
Enclosed in an open-air prison, the inhabitants of Gaza have in just a few days seen a large part of the structures destroyed that had worked with young people, with families and also with the elderly and disabled. Structures which in recent years had provided a glimmer of hope and had aided numerous families to believe in the possibility of a better future for their children.
In Gaza City, Association pro Terra Sancta has for years supported the Christian community in a project to benefit children under twelve and adolescents with various types of disabilities; it has also supported school activities and organized summer camps in collaboration with the parish priest Father Jorge Hernandez. He has written a letter of appeal, the full text of which follows below.
A number of days have already passed since the beginning of the operation “Protective Edge” aimed at the Gaza Strip. The noise of aircraft and ambulance sirens have already become part of daily life. Yesterday I noticed an increase in the aerial, land and sea bombardment. And also the persistence of rockets launched from here. We have learned of the call for the inhabitants of the areas of Beit Hanoun and Beit Lahia to immediately evacuate their homes. And we ask ourselves: where can these people go? Gaza is very small, everything is nearby. Is there is neutral place, a peaceful and secure refuge for the people of Gaza?
So, where to go? The typical routine of war here has already been internalized by the population: airplanes, explosions, destruction and death. People had predicted, for some time, a possible military attack that would go on for a long time. These were predictions of folk wisdom. But what has confounded these predictions is the appearance of a well-prepared resistance on a far larger scale than had been seen before, on the part of the local authorities.
That Hamas rockets have reached Tel Aviv and Jerusalem is no trivial matter. There is also a well-founded fear of a reaction within the Strip against the Christians. This would not be surprising, considering the modus operandi already observed in other places. For this reason it is encouraging to observe the peaceful spirit of our people. This is not the first time. And it will not be the last. I entrust myself entirely to the hands of God. How long we must endure, only God knows. For the moment we are well, safe and calm. We ask for prayers to end this madness.
Do not abandon these people. Supporting the inhabitants of this strip of land facing the Mediterranean Sea means not losing hope that a just solution to the conflict can be reached through negotiations.
Every contribution is absolutely critical. Just a very small amount can allow us to provide food, medicine and clothing to the people.
Attached is the Press Release for the appeal.