The ongoing violence in Gaza has been agonizing to watch, even as it fills the front pages, and the A blocks of the news lately.
At the moment, Ha’aretz reports the death toll as encompassing over 500 Palestinians dead, 18 Israelis. Earlier today, the UNRWA has said that the number of Palestinian children in the conflict now surpasses 100, and comprises more than 1/4th of the fatalities. (See here. )
There was more bad news today.
Reports coming out of Gaza indicate that Israel has bombed Alaqasa Hospital, causing at least five deaths, and numerous injuries. The shells hit the third floor, which contained the surgery and the ICU units. (http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2014/07/deaths-as-tank-shells-hit-gaza-hospital-20147211394682692.html)
Within Israel, the situation is also tense, but for different reasons.
On Sunday, the Bedouin community lost their emergency petition to the High Court (a somewhat-parallel version of our Supreme Court.) The Bedouin are descendants of nomadic herders, and live in the Negev desert. They frequently lack access to basic resources of Israeli citizenship: water, electricity, and the protection of the Iron Dome missile defense shield, which protects southern Israel from the missiles fired from the Gaza Strip. The petition was filed in the wake of the death of a Bedouin man in a rocket attack.
Responding to the loss in court, their lawyer commented:
State officials completely disregarded the fact that in villages where there are no shelters, no sirens, and where the houses are built mostly of aluminum – a falling rocket is exponentially more dangerous. The state’s conduct conveys a sense of how they distinguish one type of blood from another, and the abandonment of the Bedouin in the unrecognized villages.
Read about the court petition here.
But I’m going to add this, lest we feel that everyone in that region has been consumed by irrational hatred. An Israeli man has started a project, dubbed #jewsandarabsrefusetobeenemies. The hashtag caught on, as couples and families that bridge the divide photographed themselves hugging, smiling, holding signs of peace. Results can be found here.
And please continue to support the Anglican hospital in Gaza. They face depleted supplies, and according to a report they sent just now, many have fled to the hospital because they feel it will be safer. To donate, go here.
May we see peace for our sisters and brothers in Israel and Palestine soon.