Dear Friends of Saint George Taybeh,
May you have a blessed Holy Transfiguration Day. Our church celebrates 13 days later on the Old Calendar.
We hope the love of God will help to transfigure the total hate that is in the air right now in Israel/Palestine. This horrific attack on Gaza has created a new generation of hate. What can these thousands of children who have seen their parents killed and houses destroyed think of Israel? Most of the life time injuries include so many children without legs, or arms, completely traumatized.
Today we had a memorial service for Jalileh (the first Christian woman in our extended family killed in Gaza). Just to explain to you the craziness of the permit system and lack of freedom for Palestinians; her husband George, 70 years old, only 25 minutes away at the Jerusalem hospital accompanying his son at the ICU, could not attend his wife’s memorial service in her family village because the permit from Israel is only limited to go from Gaza to the hospital. Please know, I found this to be a bizarre rule that you will receive permission to travel but cannot go anywhere but the hospital.
It was forbidden for him (according to his permit) to go into the Old City of Jerusalem and pray at the Holy Life Giving Tomb of Christ. At any rate, I called him on the phone so he can be comforted with the beautiful chanting during the service. May his wife rest in peace.
As we had this memorial service on Tuesday, August 5th, we hope a ceasefire will remain in Gaza after 29 days of brutal attacks that have left 1,875 people killed and 9,563 injured; 64 Israeli soldiers have been killed. Hamas continued to fire rockets in Israel non stop. (if the siege on Gaza is lifted it will be considered a victory). Another UN school was bombed Sunday, (three schools in total, in addition to hospitals, ambulances, mosques) finally having a statement of moral outrage from the international community that this is a criminal act. This war will continue and there will be another war unless the whole world stands up and tells Israel to end the military occupation.
As many people are carrying on their regular lives in all corners of the world, the Gaza strip is a total hell and a total humanitarian disaster. There are whole neighborhoods that have been flattened out, lack of water, electricity, medical supplies and food.
People are struggling to dig out the bodies of the dead, hospitals struggling to cope with the bloodshed and death, and shelters struggling to cope with the hundreds of thousands attempting to seek refuge. There are more than 270,000 displaced people.
When I visit our cousin in the hospital, the lucky 30 children that got a permit for treatment in Jerusalem are all either with missing legs, arms, or brain dead. But I have seen everyone, both Christian and Muslim come and express solidarity with moral and financial support. May our Lord have mercy!
Thank you for your prayers,