Bishop Paul asks urgent question about Christians caught up in the war in Gaza
A question about Israel treatment of Christians in war-torn Gaza was asked by Bishop Paul in the House of Lords.
During a session dedicated to an urgent question on the war, Bishop Paul raised details of two incidents concerning the small Christian population of the strip.
The Israel Defense Forces are reported to have destroyed the entrance wall of the Anglican Al-Ahli hospital in Gaza City, closing that facility, detaining most of its staff and leaving a tank on the rubble.
The second incident related to comments made by the deputy mayor of Jerusalem where she was questioned about a sniper attack on two Christian women in the compound of the Holy Family Church. She said that there were no Christians or churches in Gaza and that they have been “driven out by Hamas”.
Bishop Paul told the House that, “There remains a small, yet highly visible, Christian community in Gaza, which is very notably engaged in the provision of Gaza’s healthcare facilities.”
While recognising the right of Israel to pursue its legitimate military objectives, Bishop Paul called on the UK Government to, “make clear to the Government of Israel that the targeting of religious buildings, their people and the healthcare facilities they provide to the community is unacceptable, and that the Church in this country expects the prompt release of medical staff detained from the Al-Ahli hospital.”
Answering Lord Benyon, Minister of State at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said, “Our information is that there were no Hamas fighters in or around the Holy Family compound and that the people who work and live there are nuns and other employees, or people who work with them. We want to make sure that they are protected and given all the protection one has a right to require for such people in a conflict situation.”
You can watch a clip of Bishop Paul’s speech below (credit to parliamentarylive.tv).