Father Peter Gray’s Message on Gaza
Father Peter Gray is vice
chancellor of Bethlehem University
Greetings again as things get worse in Gaza.
I feel reluctant to write yet again, but the situation is deteriorating in Gaza and I think it is important for people around the world to know what is happening here. It is hard tosee how the incessant pounding of innocent Palestinian by the Israeli military can in any way be justified and it staggers me that theInternational Community allows it to continue. There are now over 600 Palestinians who have been killed and over 3700 injured with the vast majority being non combatants, yet the killing goes on. Even hospitalshave become targeted and patients as well as visitors have been killed.At the same time there is a growing unrest on the West Bank as more and more Palestinians here become overwhelmed by the enormity of the attack on the innocent and helpless in Gaza. There is a growing possibilitythat this unrest will flare into violent protests if the killing continues.
I find it somewhat surreal here in Bethlehem where life isgoing on more or less as normal while just a short distance away thereis this incredible bloodbath! There are protests at night and theIsraeli military are responding in a very aggressive way with gunfireand stun grenades, but here in Bethlehem to date there have been nocasualties. Nevertheless, it is not like the experience of people inGaza. It is difficult to get a clear picture of what life is like forpeople there, but I was sent a letter from a Norwegian doctor who isworking in Gaza which I would like to share with you. It is rathergraphic so be forewarned, but it conveys the reality of what people are
From Norwegian doctor in Gaza Mads Gilbert
The last night was extreme. The “ground invasion” ofGaza resulted in scores and carloads with maimed, torn apart, bleeding,shivering, dying – all sorts of injured Palestinians, all ages, all civilians, all innocent.
The heroes in the ambulances and in all ofGaza’s hospitals are working 12-24hrs shifts, grey from fatigue andinhuman workloads (without payment all in Shifa for the last 4 months), they care, triage, try to understand the incomprehensible chaos ofbodies, sizes, limbs, walking, not walking, breathing, not breathing, bleeding, not bleeding humans. HUMANS!
Now, once more treated likeanimals by “the most moral army in the world” (sic!).
My respect forthe wounded is endless, in their contained determination in the midst ofpain, agony and shock; my admiration for the staff and volunteers is endless, my closeness to the Palestinian “sumud” gives me strength,although in glimpses I just want to scream, hold someone tight, cry,smell the skin and hair of the warm child, covered in blood, protectourselves in an endless embrace – but we cannot afford that, nor can they.
Ashy grey faces – Oh NO! not one more load of tens of maimedand bleeding, we still have lakes of blood on the floor in the ER, pilesof dripping, blood-soaked bandages to clear out – oh – the cleaners,everywhere, swiftly shovelling the blood and discarded tissues, hair,clothes, cannulas – the leftovers from death – all taken away…to beprepared again, to be repeated all over. More then 100 cases came toShifa last 24 hrs. enough for a large well trained hospital witheverything, but here – almost nothing: electricity, water, disposables,drugs, OR-tables, instruments, monitors – all rusted and as if takenfrom museums of yesterdays hospitals. But they do not complain, theseheroes. They get on with it, like warriors, head on, enormous resolute.tAnd as I write these words to you, alone, on a bed, my tears flows, the warm but useless tears of pain and grief, of anger and fear. This is not happening!
An then, just now, the orchestra of the Israeliwar-machine starts its gruesome symphony again, just now: salvos ofartillery from the navy boats just down on the shores, the roaring F16,the sickening drones (Arabic ‘Zennanis’, the hummers), and the
cluttering Apaches. So much made and paid in and by US.
Mr. Obama -do you have a heart?
I invite you – spend one night – just one night- with us in Shifa.
I am convinced, 100%, it would change history.
Nobody with a heart AND power could ever walk away from a night in Shifawithout being determined to end the slaughter of the Palestinian people.
But the heartless and merciless have done their calculations and plannedanother “dahyia” onslaught on Gaza.
The rivers of blood will keeprunning the coming night. I can hear they have tuned their instrumentsof death.
Please. Do what you can. This, THIS cannot continue.
Gaza, Occupied Palestine
Please keep these people in your thoughts and prayers and do what you can to influence those who can
help bring about a ceasefire and stop this killing.
Brother Peter Bray, FSC, EdD
Bethlehem University in the Holy Land
Rue des Freres