Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Al Ahli Hospital, Gaza

The Al Ahli Hospital is run by the Anglican Church in Gaza.

It has been funded by UNRWA – the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees – but it has recently been announced that this funding will stop and UNWRA are re-tendering for a new contract to provide these services.

The Anglican Church in the region is one of The Church of Scotland’s key partners, as you might know The Church of Scotland has had a presence in Israel / Occupied Palestinian Territories for many years.

Very Reverend Davod Arnott at Al Ahli Hospital, Gaza

Because of this friendship and solidarity the Moderator of the Church of Scotland General Assembly recently wrote to the UK Government about this issue, and has received a reply from the International Development Secretary, Andrew Mitchell MP.  The Anglican Bishop of Exeter also asked questions about UNRWA’s funding decision in the House of Lords.

  • Read Rt Rev Albert Bogle’s letter here.
  • And the reply from Andrew Mitchell MP.
The two questions asked in the Lords by the Bishop of Exeter can be seen here and here.

The General Assembly received a report on Gaza last month, and expressed grave concern about the deteriorating humanitarian situation, with its unacceptable, avoidable and potentially disastrous consequences.

The decision to terminate funding for the Al Ahli Hospital seems to me to be wrong; it creates uncertainty for staff and patients and could throw the whole future of the facility into doubt.  I am also saddened that the UK Government has not taken a firmer line to offer its solidarity and support for this Anglican hospital, with the rather feeble and unexplained excuse that ‘it is not appropriate for us to intervene in individual procurement decisions.’  As the UK is a major international aid donor and is committed to the United Nations and to peace in the Middle East, surely they can bring these concerns and their influence to bear on this decision which is manifestly damaging to the people of Gaza. 

I hope that you will pray, especially for the hospital staff and patients during a time of change and uncertainty.  Please also pray for understanding by the decision-makers at UNRWA so that they take the decision to keep the international community’s support for Al Ahli.


  1. Thanks for highlighting on your blog the crisis facing the Al-Ahli Hospital. See our own update on the BibleLands website. We too are doing what we can to help, but ultimately only the US can get UNRWA to reverse its decision.

    Jeremy Moodey, CEO of BibleLands

  2. NB re Andrew Mitchell's reply, the hospital that won the UNRWA contract is not "politically neutral". It is controlled by the Union of Health Work Committees, itself an affiliate of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), an organisation which is prescribed as a terrorist organisation in the US. Can we do something about this?


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