The terrible violence that broke out Saturday with the massive attack from Gaza on Israel, has brought grief, pain, fear and panic to Israeli and Palestinian families. We are shocked by the scale and brutality of the violence, we grief for all innocent people who lost their lives.
Open Doors calls Christians around the world to pray for the people of Israel and Palestine. Pray in the first place that peace will come to this part of the world and that this violence will stop.
On Monday morning we spoke with a Christian in Gaza.
“My family and I feel fear and anxious, due to the heavy bombardments, and we feel that the house will fall, it is a permanent earthquake. We try to hug our children and relieve them of fear and terror and many times we cannot from the force of the strikes,” a Christian father from Gaza says on Monday morning to Open Doors.
“Currently we live in a difficult situation in Gaza and incomprehensible, as we do not know what is coming… all we see, hear and feel is war… explosions and destruction everywhere and the screaming of children from the intensity of the bombing. There is a strong fear of what is coming as there is no safe place in Gaza,” he continues.
“Humanity has lost its content, and for a moment it seemed as if the gates of heaven were closed in the face of this miserable and poor city of everything except the blood that it pays as a tax for its continuation of life, in Gaza everything seems gloomy.”
He says that this war seems “different from any previous escalations, we were not able to sleep since two days, because the bombing is severe at night.”
He adds: “We pray that love and peace will prevail in our country and I ask for a prayer for God's protection over my family and our home, that the war will end quickly, and that the Lord will meet all needs, especially at this time, and that we be can be the light in the middle of this total darkness and reflect the light and love of Christ in Gaza.”
As far as we know there are no Christians killed or wounded in the bombardments on Gaza.
The man is one of the about 800 Palestinian Christians of different Christian denominations in Gaza. The churches in Gaza cancelled all their services last weekend, due to the current war and the bombings of the Israeli air force. Open Doors supports the churches in Gaza so that they can help Christians with food and medicine where needed.
Palestinian Christians in the West Bank did have their church services, “we prayed for peace and justice in the Holy Land,” a Christian from Bethlehem said this morning.
Saturday 7 October Hamas launched a massive attack on Israel with rockets and with Hamas fighters crossing into Israel. The war between Hamas and Israel has an direct impact on our Palestinian colleagues living in the West Bank.
Saturday morning al our staff members reported that they were safe and thank God, they still are. One of them on Saturday morning had a rocket hitting the house next door to them. They had to sleep in the house of a family member.
In the West Bank there are according to a Christian from Bethlehem demonstrations in several places. According to him seven people were killed over there. The Israeli government has closed all checkpoints, this means that Palestinians on the West Bank have to stay in their cities or towns.
The war has an impact on Open Doors’ work, as a training for women planned this week probably will be cancelled. Also several meetings had to be cancelled.
Open Doors calls for prayer for the people in Israel and Palestine. Pray for peace and an end to all violence and injustice in Israel and Palestine. Pray that the church might be a beacon of hope for the people around through their testimony in words and actions. Pray that the Lord will comfort those who lost loved ones. Pray also that the international community will work towards lasting peace in the Holy Land.
Gaza is a small strip of land, about 41 km long and 6 to 12 km wide of a total of 365 km2. In that area controlled by Hamas since 2006 are living about 2 million Palestinians. Since Hamas came to power, the Israeli government imposed a land, sea and air blockade on the area, turning the densely populated area into “an open air prison,” as the area is often described. Only people who get a permit from the Israeli government are allowed to travel out, for example when they work outside Gaza. Together with the much bigger West Bank, Gaza forms the State of Palestine.
Open Doors works on the West Bank and in Israel. In Gaza we work through local partners. In cooperation with local partners and churches, Open Doors is supporting the church in Israel and Palestine through the following activities:
- Training (E.g. Biblical Training, reconciliation, trauma debriefing and counseling)
- Bible and Christian Literature distribution
- Leadership development
- Advocacy and presence ministry (E.g. legal funds, safe houses)
- Prayer ministry