Six Gaza-related items are here, including news stories here are from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America other information. None of these are presented in their entirety, so please check the links for the complete text. Ann
1. ELCA NEWS SERVICE
February 5, 2009
ELCA, Episcopal Church Top Leaders Ask Israel about Bishops' Denied Visit
CHICAGO (ELCA) -- The top leaders of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and the Episcopal Church sent a letter to Israel's ambassador to the United States expressing "grave concern" and requesting help to determine why a Lutheran bishop and an Episcopal bishop were denied entry to Gaza Feb. 4.
The Feb. 5 letter from the Rev. Mark S. Hanson, ELCA presiding bishop, and the Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, was sent to Sallai Meridor, ambassador of Israel, in Washington, D.C.
The full article is at this link: http://www.elca.org/Who-We-Are/Our-Three-Expressions/Churchwide-Organization/Communication-Services/News/Releases.aspx?a=4051
2. ELCA NEWS SERVICE
February 5, 2009
Lutheran, Anglican Bishops Denied Entry to Gaza
CHICAGO (ELCA) -- The Rev. Munib A. Younan, bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land (ELCJHL - http://www.elcjhl.org/), and the Rt. Rev. Suheil Dawani, Anglican bishop of Jerusalem, were denied entry to Gaza Feb. 4, according to a news release from the ELCJHL. The bishops were traveling with the heads of churches of Jerusalem to visit Christians in Gaza. Younan and Dawani were the only Palestinians in the group and the only ones denied entry, the release said.
For the full article see this link:
3. ELCA NEWS SERVICE
January 30, 2009
ELCA Presiding Bishop, Others Urge Diplomacy to Maintain Gaza Cease-fire
CHICAGO (ELCA) -- In a Jan. 27 letter to U.S. President Barack H. Obama, U.S. Christian, Jewish and Muslim leaders called for "urgent U.S. diplomacy" in cooperation with Egypt and others to ensure that an effective and sustainable cease-fire is maintained in Gaza between Israel and Hamas.
The Rev. Mark S. Hanson, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), was among the 35 religious leaders who signed the letter. The religious leaders make up the National Interreligious Leadership Initiative for Peace in the Middle East (NILI - http://www.nili-mideastpeace.org/), an organization that was formed in 2003.
"People in our communities have different precious bonds with Israelis and Palestinians and responded in different ways to the recent war between Hamas and Israel," the religious leaders wrote.
See the full story at this link:
More on Gaza...
4. The ELCA's Midde East Network Newletter (January) is available - http://www.elca.org/Our-Faith-In-Action/Justice/Peace-Not-Walls/Resources/Newsletter.aspx
Among its reports is one on Disaster Response giving to Gaza:
"From contributions sent to the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America’s International Disaster Response, a $50,000 contribution was made in early January to Action by Churches Together (ACT), a global alliance of churches and related agencies, including the ELCA, working to save lives and support communities in emergencies worldwide. ACT members have transported eight trucks of aid into Gaza over the past two weeks, even while the fighting was ongoing. Aid has included food, milk, blankets and medical supplies for Gaza clinics, the Al Ahli Arab Hospital, and displaced people living in camps and at UN Relief and Works Agency locations. Assessments are underway to plan for long-term recovery for the individuals and communities within Gaza. Further details are available at http://www.act-intl.org/ (see Latest News and Updates on the right side). The ELCA has established a designated account to receive contributions.
For more on giving through the ELCA, go to this link: http://www.elca.org/Our-Faith-In-Action/Responding-to-the-World/Disaster-Response/Recent-Disasters/Gaza-Crisis-2.aspx
5. Anglican Bishop Suheil S. Dawani has issued several statements on Gaza.
In one he said, "Our Al Ahli Hospital located in the heart of Gaza City is providing essential frontline medical and emergency humanitarian services to those coming or being brought directly to it. Additionally, it is receiving patients transferred by UNRWA from the Government Hospital Al Shiffa for emergency inpatient and surgical treatment of the wounded and injured. As a non-partisan well established Hospital, we are receiving patients from all directions. This coming Sunday all of our Churches will have special services for Peace and Reconciliation for those whose lives have been impacted by the Gaza conflict - especially the wounded, injured and the families of those innocents who have died" For more about the hospital, see this link: http://www.j-diocese.org/newsdetail.php?id=324&th=2&page_id=324
For more of Bishop Dawani's work, see this web link - http://www.j-diocese.org/archive?ct=Statements
6. Amnesty International reports on what researchers have found in Gaza.
Human Rights Concerns
More than 1000 Palestinians have been killed, many of them women and children, in Israeli air strikes and other attacks on the Gaze Strip between December 27, 2008 and January 17, 2009. In the same period, thirteen Israelis have been killed, including three civilians killed in rocket attacks launched by Palestinian armed groups from the Gaza Strip.
See this link - http://www.amnestyusa.org/all-countries/israel/occupied-palestinian-territories/page.do?id=1011175
An Amnesty International delegation that entered Gaza shortly before the halting of the Israeli operation described how "previously busy neighborhoods have been flattened into moonscapes," and "how there is no camera lens wide enough to embrace the sheer dimensions of the devastation."
(Amnesty) researchers continue investigating attacks against southern Israel and are currently documenting the true scale of devastation wrought on civilians in Gaza. The stories they report are harrowing.
In the early afternoon of January 4th, three young paramedics walked through a field on a rescue mission to save a group of wounded men in a nearby orchard. A 12-year-old boy, standing by his house, assisted the operation by pointing to where the men could be found. An Israeli air strike on the area killed all four.
The bodies of the four victims could not be retrieved for two days. Ambulance crews who tried to approach the site came under fire from Israeli forces.
Our researchers later traveled to the scene of the strike with the two ambulance drivers who witnessed the attack. They met with the boy’s distraught mother and found the remains of the missile. The label of the missile read, “guided missile, surface attack” and cited the United States as the country of origin.
This is just one of many similar stories.
Under the Geneva Conventions, medical personnel searching, collecting, transporting or treating the wounded must be protected and respected in all circumstances. Clearly, this was not the case on Jan. 4th.
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