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Gaza Situation Update
Visit 10-12 February 2015

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Thereafter, we met with Ms. Suhaila Tarazi, director of the Al- Ahli Arab Hospital to inform us on the Misereor-funded psychosocial program. We met with some of the participants — mainly women who come from various locations throughout the Gaza Strip. Their message was very similar to that of the women at the NECC clinic. Interestingly, there was a small exhibit of the drawings made by the women’s children who also attended the children’s psychosocial sessions. Most of the drawings were particularly depressing with depictions of destruction, missiles and military planes, people weeping, the use of dark colors and other negative images of war. Certainly the ugliness of war in a child’s eyes was reflected through those drawings. Yet, it was uplifting throughout our visit at the hospital to hear the message of appreciation and financial support for the patients of Al-Ahli Arab Hospital. Ms. Tarazi went to great lengths to thank Misereor and all of CNEWA/PMP’s partner donors for their outstanding generosity to procure much needed medicines, medical supplies, fuel and medical coverage for the needy. Without the funds, the hospital would have simply shutdown and surely patients would have lost their lives. Ms. Tarazi stressed that these contributions made a substantial difference especially during an active war.

Next on our itinerary was the Rosary Sisters School to inspect the rehabilitation work to the school grounds completed after the war and enabled the school to open in time for the 2014-2015 academic school year but also visit the 9th and 10th grade classes whom we visited previously. For those of you who have not seen this 7 minute encounter of the 9th grade students, please take time to watch it through the following link: It was touching to meet the students again and listen to their stories. Most touching was their appreciation for our support and solidarity which was very much appreciated.

The last place we visited for the day was the Shija’ia neighborhood which sustained large scale destruction, especially the two completely destroyed buildings of the Wafa Hospital. The scenes were beyond imagination! Not only was the hospital completely destroyed, but also the entire neighborhood surrounding it. We met some of the neighborhood residents who are still living in the remnants of their destroyed homes even in the middle of winter. In fact, we were in the midst of a sand storm which had some of the worst pollution levels in five years. The residents who we spoke with were very angry with many issues: the two political factions, Fatah and Hamas, for doing nothing to ease their suffering and for the lack of progress to reconcile; at UNRWA for not doing enough to help reconstruct; and at the international community for not denouncing war for the people of Gaza; and at Israel for destroying life in Gaza. Yet despite all the suffering and anger, there was a clear message of resilience and faith. They always concluded with a simple phrase “this is our destiny and we have to thank God for everything!!!”

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