One more day of this ridiculous and bloody war. Local sources report that since the beginning of the war there have been 865 deaths, including 208 children, and the number of injured has reached 5700, among whom 1779 are children.
The situation is further worsened by the turmoil that this has caused throughout the area. The disturbances in Ramallah and elsewhere in Palestine are a clear sign of this. They have intensified to such an extent that in some sectors they are speaking about a third intifada (uprising). God forbid!
There is no place to find a safe refuge. A further evidence of this, as is well known, is the shelling of a UN school in the Beit Hanun area. Poor folks, they thought they were safe there. There are no words to describe the situation.
The shortages are being felt increasingly. Water shortage in Gaza during the summer is a serious problem. Often one has no choice but to drink unsafe water, i.e. salt water. Absurd!
There is yet another hardship. The neighborhood where there is the largest concentration of Christians, has been ordered for an immediate evacuation, since it would be bombed. Of course, one more time, the mother Church hosted nearly a hundred people within our chapel premises. In the afternoon we were able to visit them and share with them the cross of fear and uncertainty that such situations entail.
Also, during these days, we were able to help thousands of people through Caritas Jerusalem. We owe a debt of gratitude to its director, Fr. Sahleia Raed, who immediately provided the resources to help the people suffering in this manner.
We visited the schools where thousands of refugees from the worst affected areas of Gaza have taken shelter. People have come there without anything; there are some in whose family, one or more members have died; there are those who have lost everything. However, everyone thanks God for being alive. Believe me, it is edifying to see them.
There is expected a truce for the weekend, which is the end of Ramadan. We hope that it will concretize. We also hope that it will last long and furthermore, be definitive.
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“A voice is heard in Ramah, lamentation and bitter weeping. Rachel is weeping for her children; she refuses to be comforted for her children, because they are not.” (Jer 31:15).
Last night, after the dreadful roar of a missile nearby, a mother was heard screaming inconsolably and desperately, as she ran through the streets, “Ibni, ibni, habiby”- “My son, my dear son”. Lamentation, pain, and bitter weeping. She was another Rachel. She was a mother who wept for her son. So, she refuses all consolation, because her only possible comfort and the reason to live no longer exists: her son is dead.
There are hundreds of examples as these that one experiences each day.
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We commend ourselves to your prayers.
Fr. Jorge Hernández, IVE
Missionary of the Institute of the Incarnate Word in the Gaza Strip.