The regional Caritas group operated health facilities in Gaza, including a mobile clinic that had to stop operations a few days ago when the situation there worsened, and a medical center, now also partially suspending operations, due to the life threatening situation for medical staff.
Caritas is intent on continuing to serve the people of Gaza while the health facility operations are suspended. Besides food and water, the Caritas agency is planning to provide medical kits to 180 community agents who have been trained in first aid in emergencies.
But an emergency response in Gaza will only be possible once major hostilities have ceased and the border is reopened. In the event of a ground invasion, that could be a matter of several weeks.
“What we can do now is pray, and also condemn the violence because it will not bring a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” said Auxiliary Bishop William Shomali of Jerusalem.
Pray as Jesus did
Neville Kyrke-Smith, UK director of the charity Aid to the Church in Need, echoed the bishop's evaluation.
Kyrke-Smith was leading a Holy Land pilgrimage on the day Gaza's top military commander was killed (Nov. 14), an event which escalated the conflict.
Calling on people to pray for peace this Sunday, the Feast of Christ the King, Kyrke-Smith said: "The current conflict could be the taper that lights the fuse-wire of an even more widespread conflict in the Middle East.
"The Christian community must not stand back hoping that conflicts like this will burn themselves out. We have to act now for the people of the Middle East and encourage our politicians to do the same.
"Our Lord prayed for the peace of Jerusalem. We must pray too, for the peace of Jerusalem and the wider Middle East."