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Diocese of Jerusalem protest the forced closure of Anglican hospital Al Ahli Arab in Gaza

Posted on: July 9, 2024 7:52 PM
Photo from Al Ahli in the aftermath of its evacuation.
Photo Credit: Photo by Dawoud Abo Aklas, shared via Richard Sewell, Episcopal Church of Jerusalem

The Diocese of Jerusalem has protested the forced closure of Anglican hospital Al Ahli Arab in Gaza.

The  conflict in Gaza and Israel is causing increasing devastation and impacting vulnerable people in the region. Yesterday, a BBC report on 8 July stated that ‘Palestinians in Gaza city have experienced one of the most intense Israeli bombardments since Israel launched its war on Hamas after the group’s unprecedented 7 October attack.’

The Anglican run Al Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza City has been forced to close, seeing the evacuation of all patients and staff, as the Israel Defense Forces declared the immediate vicinity a “red zone”.

Until this week, Al Ahli hospital was the only functioning hospital in the North of Gaza. The hospital had been providing surgery and care, and even extended services through a mobile clinic in southern Gaza, through the ministry of displaced doctors and medics.

On July 8, the Diocese of Jerusalem from the Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East issued a statement about the forced closure of the hospital, which is run by the Diocese.

In the statement, Archbishop Hosam Naoum, the primate of the Province of Jerusalem and the Middle East has protested the closure of the hospital in the ‘strongest possible terms. In a time of warfare and great suffering it is essential that emergency healthcare services are maintained to treat the injured and the dying.’

The full statement issued by the Diocese of Jerusalem from the Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East on the diocesan website reads:

'In the midst of escalating military activity in the Old Gaza City area of the Gaza Strip, we are sorry to report that the Al Ahli Arab Anglican Hospital has been compelled to close by the Israel army. Suheila Tarazi, Hospital Director, reported that on Sunday July 7, between 6 pm – 7 pm a large amount of firing from drones occurred in the immediate vicinity of the hospital.

This was immediately followed by an IDF announcement that the area had been declared a Red Zone and everyone should immediately evacuate all the buildings including everyone in the hospital. As a result, all vulnerable people sheltering in the hospital grounds, the staff and all patients had to leave the safety of the grounds of the hospital. Inevitably, this placed the injured and the sick in great jeopardy.

To our great dismay, our hospital is now out of operation at a time when its services are in very significant demand, and where injured and sick people have few other options for places to receive urgent medical care.

We are also deeply distressed that today one of our ambulances was fired at en route to the hospital. We currently have no information about the condition of our driver and any patients who were being transported for treatment.

Archbishop Hosam Naoum, Anglican Archbishop of the Diocese of Jerusalem, has said: 'We protest the closure of our hospital in the strongest possible terms. In a time of warfare and great suffering it is essential that emergency healthcare services are maintained to treat the injured and the dying. We appeal to the Israeli forces to permit us to continue our sacred ministry of medical care and healing. We plead for an end to the targeting of civilians and all vulnerable people and demand all parties agree to an immediate ceasefire.'


Bishop Anthony Poggo, the Secretary General of the Anglican Communion has expressed solidarity with Archbishop Hosam and the Diocese of Jerusalem. He said: ‘We stand with the Episcopal Church of Jerusalem in protesting the forced closure of Al Ahli Arab Anglican Hospital and alerting the world to the urgent needs of injured and sick people that now have few options for urgent medical attention. Continuing this conflict will not achieve strategic ends – it only worsens suffering. We pray for a ceasefire. We hold in prayer all those in Gaza and Israel that have experienced trauma and injustice since the Hamas attacks last October and before.’

The diocese and the UN are reporting escalation on the northern border with Lebanon, which could worsen conflict in the region.

The Anglican Communion’s UN team continue to represent issues of injustice. On July 8th, they reported to the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967 about the forced evacuation of Al Ahli Anglican hospital.

Humanitarian Appeal

Anglican churches and agencies around the world can continue to provide support to the church’s ministries in Gaza, West Bank & Israel and throughout the diocese of Jerusalem through a joint appeal, organised by the Anglican Alliance.

The appeal can help to provide:

  • Support to those requiring medical attention and care. Urgent assistance is needed for those impacted by the forced closure of Al Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza, along with medical patients at Saint Luke’s Hospital in Nablus and the Penman Clinic in Jenin on the West Bank.
  • Assistance to those displaced or economically impacted by conflict in the West Bank, especially to ensure children continue to receive quality education, with psychosocial support.

The Anglican Alliance brings together those in the Anglican family of churches and agencies to work together for a world free of poverty and injustice.

Members of the Anglican Alliance consortium receiving funds for this appeal include:

Other appeals around the Communion also support the core ministry of the Diocese.

Contact email for the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem: [email protected]