Welsh church leader challenges Israel on health clinic bombing

Welsh church leader challenges Israel on health clinic bombing

By staff writers
15 Jan 2009

A senior Welsh church leader has joined worldwide questioning of an Israeli missile attack on a church-run health clinic in Gaza four days ago and has called on the international community to act for a just-peace.

Anglican Archbishop of Wales Dr Barry Morgan has written to the Israeli Ambassador in London asking why Israel had attacked the Shij’ia Family Health Care Centre in Gaza City.

“We are perplexed and shocked at this attack and are looking for an explanation for it from the Israeli Ambassador,” he said.

Shij’ia Clinic, run by the Near East Council of Churches (NECC) and funded by the UK-based international development agency Christian Aid, was given just 15 minutes to evacuate.

As reported on Ekklesia, the building was completely destroyed by missiles on Saturday, along with hundreds of thousands of pounds of medical equipment.

There are also fears that a mobile dental clinic run by the NECC and funded by the Church in Wales was also destroyed.

Dr Morgan said, “We find it incomprehensible and tragic that any armed forces anywhere in the world would want to destroy such a building, let alone the State of Israel with all its historic memories of oppression and genocide."

He continued: “To hear the news that the only health facilities in this part of Gaza have been destroyed, leaving the population of that area without any medical facilities at all, is horrendous.

The archbishop said: “It does raise questions about the credibility of Israel’s values and purposes.”

There were 10,836 families registered at the clinic, which provided free primary health care and included a mother and baby clinic. Those families had, Dr Morgan said, “effectively been removed of any hope of medical provision and support.”

The archbishop continued: “It is hard to understand why Israel would allow, let alone commission, an attack on a facility which provides support mostly to young babies and their mothers.”

He concluded: “We have no reason to believe that this building was producing or distributing arms or being used as a base or launch pad for rockets sent into Israel. If there is evidence to the contrary we would like to see it.”

Church leaders have also condemned the continued rocket attacks by Hamas militants on southern Israel. These have produced only a handful of fatalities recently, but cause fear and suffering.

Over 1,000 Palestinians have died in Israeli raids on Gaza over the past two weeks.

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