Crisis in Gaza: KAIROS Partners Respond
As the conflict continues between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, KAIROS partner, the Near East Council of Churches (NECC), is responding with emergency medical care to the growing number of injured civilians.
NECC in Gaza, a branch of KAIROS partner the Department of Service to Palestinian Refugees provides medical care to the most vulnerable and marginalized communities in Gaza. Due to heavy shelling from Israeli forces, NECC staff members have little or no access to their clinics. They are increasingly worried about the injured who are unable to access necessary medical treatment. There is a strong possibility the hospital will run short of medical supplies and fuel.
In order to establish genuine peace in the region, KAIROS’ Israeli and Palestinian partners urgently call for an immediate end to the violence and a long-overdue return to negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. No military campaign can bring lasting peace. Peace will be achieved only through a negotiated political settlement. Any political settlement must include support for reconciliation between the Palestinians’ representative authorities, Fatah and Hamas, according to KAIROS’ partners.
Since the Israeli military operation “Pillar of Defense” began a week ago, 111 Palestinians and 3 Israelis have been killed in the fighting. Nearly 850 people have been wounded. As in all conflicts with this level of violence, the overwhelming majority of the victims are civilians, including hundreds of children either killed or wounded in the fighting. Palestinian armed groups must immediately stop the firing of rockets against Israelis, and Israel must immediately stop its escalating levels of military attack on the people of Gaza.
The people of Gaza are already suffering under very difficult living conditions as a result of the land, sea and sky blockade by Israel. Many people are without water, food, electricity, fuel, shelter, or adequate health care.
Recent calls by representatives of the Government of Canada for a cessation of violence on both sides and the need to ensure the protection of civilians are welcome. The federal government’s urgent priorities should also include collaborating with others in the international community on genuine efforts towards a lasting peace that includes a sustainable, negotiated resolution to the Israeli occupation that forms the basis of the current conflict.