Letter from Bishops to the President appealing for continued aid to Gaza Hospital

Letter from Bishops to the President appealing for continued aid to Gaza Hospital

June 6, 2012

 

The Honorable Barack Obama

President of the United States

Washington, DC 20001

 

Dear Mr. President:

 We write as bishops of the Episcopal Church, the United States-based member of the 80 million member worldwide Anglican Communion.  As longtime advocates for peace and reconciliation in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian territories, we stand in partnership both with the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem and the Middle East and with tens of millions of Christians, Muslims, and Jews around the world who dream of a future of peace and harmony in the land that is holy to all the children of Abraham.  We have been, and remain, strong supporters of your Administration’s work toward a two-state solution in which a secure and universally recognized Israel lives alongside a secure, viable, and independent Palestinian state.

 We write now, however, in a moment of true emergency in the life of the Gaza Strip and its more than two million residents.  We’ve just learned that after nearly two decades of partnership, the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) has abruptly terminated, without public justification, its contractual financial support for Al Ahli Hospital in Gaza City.  This change was effective at the end of May and threatens to debilitate the hospital, its 120-person staff, and the many thousands of Gazans who rely on it for primary and urgent care and treatment. 

 Mr. President, we write to request your immediate and personal intervention with the relevant UN personnel to ensure the reversal of this decision, which threatens to have disastrous consequences for the more than two million residents of Gaza, already living in conditions of profound humanitarian need.  

 Al Ahli Hospital has been managed by the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem and the Middle East since 1982.  It provides primary and emergency care to the almost exclusively Muslim population in Gaza, and does so without proselytizing or discriminating on the basis of religion, ethnicity, politics, or social identification.  It is the only facility of its sort in the Gaza Strip that is not run by the Hamas government and as such, it is able to provide care without any outside interference or political calculation.  Its continued operation thus is in the inherent interests of the United States government.  It is not hyperbole to say either that the humanitarian conditions in the Gaza Strip are as severe as any on earth, or that Al Ahli Hospital is a rare and absolutely vital source of genuine good news in that context.  The decision of UNRWA to terminate its support for the hospital is utterly indefensible and must be reversed.

 Until this month, UNRWA supported the hospital in the amount of $80 per occupied bed per day for its complement of 50 inpatient beds.  This helped to cover surgery, medicine, anesthesia, and diagnostic services.  It also has important implications for outpatient care.  In supplement to this $80 per day, patients have paid $10 per day, with an additional $20 being provided by the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem, charitable organizations, and other donors from around the world.  In sum, UNRWA’s support has amounted to approximately $1 million per year, or nearly half of the hospital’s $2.4 million budget serving 4800 inpatients and 42,000 outpatients annually. 

 Mr. President, in asking for your personal intervention, we appeal to you as a person of faith who has spoken stirringly of the need for reconciliation between the children of Abraham.  Al Ahli hospital is doing the work you have articulated, but in order to continue, it needs the support of friends from around the world.  The Book of Exodus speaks of the Israelites sojourning in the desert led by God, who fed them daily with manna that came each morning with the dew.  While God surely could have provided them instantaneously with food for their full journey, he asked them instead to gather the manna daily and put their trust in the sufficiency of divine goodness and generosity to provide for their need on an ongoing basis. Many years later, in the same part of the world, the daily support of donors to efforts like Al Ahli hospital means life and death on a level no less consequential than the manna that fed the children of Israel.  As professionally superb as the hospital is, it cannot survive without international donor support, the largest portion of which has heretofore come from UNRWA.

 As you deliberate how to approach this important matter, please know that our Presiding Bishop, the Most Reverend Katharine Jefferts Schori, and our staff in Washington, are available to consult and assist as needed.  They are in regular contact with the Anglican (Episcopal) Bishop in Jerusalem, the Right Reverend Suheil Dawani, who ultimately oversees the hospital’s operations.   

 Please also be assured that our prayers are ever with you, and that we remain

 Your brothers and sisters in Christ,

 

The Most Reverend Katharine Jefferts Schori

Presiding Bishop and Primate

 

Alabama

The Rt. Rev. Henry Nutt Parsley, Jr.

X Bishop of Alabama

  Arizona

The Rt. Rev. Robert Reed Shahan

IV Bishop of Arizona

  Arkansas

The Rt. Rev. Larry R. Benfield

Bishop of Arkansas

 The Rt. Rev. Larry E. Maze

XII Bishop of Arkansas

California

The Rt. Rev. Mary Gray-Reeves

Bishop of El Camino Real

The Rt. Rev. John Bruno

Bishop of Los Angeles

The Rt. Rev. Diane M. Jardine Bruce

Bishop Suffragan of Los Angeles

 The Rt. Rev. Mary D. Glasspool

Bishop Suffragan of Los Angeles

 The Rt. Rev. Barry L. Beisner

Bishop of Northern California

 The Rt. Rev. William E. Swing

VII Bishop of California

 Colorado

The Rt. Rev. Robert O’Neill

Bishop of Colorado

 Connecticut

The Rt. Rev. Ian T. Douglas

Bishop of Connecticut

 The Rt. Rev. Laura J. Ahrens

Bishop Suffragan of Connecticut

 District of Columbia

The Rt. Rev. Mariann Edgar Budde

Bishop of Washington

 The Rt. Rev. James B. "Jay" Magness

Bishop Suffragan for the Armed Services and Federal Ministries

 The Rt. Rev. John Bryson Chane

VIII Bishop of Washington

 Florida

The Rt. Rev. Philip Duncan

Bishop of the Central Gulf Coast

Note: the Diocese of the Central Gulf Coast also includes portions of Alabama

 The Rt. Rev. Charles L. Keyser

Assisting Bishop of Florida

 The Rt. Rev. Leo Frade

Bishop of Southeast Florida

 The Rt. Rev. J. Michael Garrison

Assisting Bishop of Southwest Florida

 The Rt. Rev. Barry R. Howe

Assisting Bishop of Southwest Florida

 The Rt. Rev. Rogers S. Harris

III Bishop of Southwest Florida

  Georgia

The Rt. Rev. J. Neil Alexander

Bishop of Atlanta

 The Rt. Rev. Scott Anson Benhase

Bishop of Georgia

 Hawaii

The Rt. Rev. Richard S. O. Chang

IV Bishop of Hawaii

 The Rt. Rev. Donald P. Hart

III Bishop of Hawaii

 Idaho

The Rt. Rev. John S. Thornton

XI Bishop of Idaho

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The Rt. Rev. Jeffrey Lee

Bishop of Chicago

The Rt. Rev. C. Christopher Epting

Assisting Bishop of Chicago

 

 The Rt. Rev. John Clark Buchanan

Bishop of Quincy

 Indiana

The Rt. Rev. Catherine M. Waynick

Bishop of Indianapolis

 The Rt. Rev. Edward S. Little, II

Bishop of Northern Indiana

 The Rt. Rev. Francis C. Gray

VI Bishop of Northern Indiana

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The Rt. Rev. Dean E. Wolfe

Bishop of Kansas

 The Rt. Rev. William E. Smalley

VIII Bishop of Kansas

 The Rt. Rev. James Adams

IV Bishop of Western Kansas

Kentucky

The Rt. Rev. Terry A. White

Bishop of Kentucky

 The Rt. Rev. David B. Reed

VI Bishop of Kentucky

 Louisiana
The Rt. Rev. Morris K. Thompson, Jr.

Bishop of Louisiana

 Maine

The Rt. Rev. Stephen T. Lane

Bishop of Maine

 Maryland

The Rt. Rev. Eugene Taylor Sutton

Bishop of Maryland

 The Rt. Rev. Joe Goodwin Burnett

Assisting Bishop of Maryland

 The Rt. Rev. A. Theodore Eastman

XII Bishop of Maryland

The Rt. Rev. John Rabb

Bishop Suffragon of Maryland (Ret.)

 Massachusetts

The Rt. Rev. M. Thomas Shaw III, SSJE

Bishop of Massachusetts

 The Rt. Rev. Roy F. (Bud) Cederholm Jr.

Bishop Suffragan of Massachusetts (Ret.)

 Michigan

The Rt. Rev. S. Todd Ousely

Bishop of Eastern Michigan

 The Rt. Rev. Wendell N. Gibbs, Jr.

Bishop of Michigan

 The Rt. Rev. Rayford Ray

Bishop of Northern Michigan

 The Rt. Rev. Edward L. Lee

VII Bishop of Western Michigan

Minnesota

The Rt. Rev. Brian N. Prior

Bishop of Minnesota

 The Rt. Rev. James L. Jelinek

VIII Bishop of Minnesota

 The Rt. Rev. Sanford Z. K. Hampton

Bishop Suffragan of Minnesota (Ret.)

 Mississippi

The Rt. Rev. Duncan M. Gray III

Bishop of Mississippi

 Montana

The Rt. Rev. C. Franklin Brookhart, Jr.

Bishop of Montana

 Nevada

The Rt. Rev. Dan Edwards

Bishop of Nevada

 New Hampshire

The Rt. Rev. Douglas E. Theuner

VIII Bishop of New Hampshire

 New Jersey

The Rt. Rev. Mark Beckwith

Bishop of Newark

 New Mexico

The Rt. Rev. David Bailey

Bishop of Navajoland

Note: the Navajoland Area Mission also includes portions of Arizona and Utah

 New York

The Rt. Rev. Stacy F. Sauls

Chief Operating Officer

of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society of the Episcopal Church

 The Rt. Rev. Lawrence C. Provenzano

Bishop of Long Island

The Rt. Rev. Mark S. Sisk

Bishop of New York

 The Rt. Rev Andrew M L Dietsche

Bishop Coadjutor of New York

 The Rt. Rev. Andrew D. Smith

Assistant Bishop of New York

 The Rt. Rev. Prince Singh

Bishop of Rochester

 The Rt. Rev. Jack M. McKelvey

VII Bishop of Rochester

 The Rt. Rev. Gladstone B. Adams, III

Bishop of Central New York

 North Carolina

The Rt. Rev. Clifton Daniel III

Bishop of East Carolina

 The Rt. Rev. Michael B. Curry

Bishop of North Carolina

 The Rt. Rev. William O. Gregg

Assisting Bishop of North Carolina

 The Rt. Rev. J. Gary Gloster

Bishop Suffragan of North Carolina (Ret.)

 North Dakota

The Rt. Rev. Harold A. Hopkins

IX Bishop of North Dakota

 Ohio

The Rt. Rev. Mark Hollingsworth, Jr.

Bishop of Ohio

 The Rt. Rev. Arthur B. Williams, Jr.

Assisting Bishop of Ohio

 The Rt. Rev. Thomas E. Breidenthal

Bishop of Southern Ohio

Oregon

The Rt. Rev. Bavi Edna Rivera

Bishop Provisional of Eastern Oregon

 The Rt. Rev. Robert L Ladehoff

VIII Bishop of Oregon

 Pennsylvania

The Rt. Rev. Frank T. Griswold

XXV Presiding Bishop and Primate

 The Rt. Rev. Nathan D. Baxter

Bishop of Central Pennsylvania

 The Rt. Rev. Michael W. Creighton

IX Bishop of Central Pennsylvania

 The Rt. Rev. Charlie F. McNutt, Jr.

VIII Bishop of Central Pennsylvania

 The Rt. Rev. Charles M. Bennison

Bishop of Pennsylvania

 The Rt. Rev. Rodney R. Michel

Assisting Bishop of Pennsylvania

 The Rt. Rev. Allen L. Bartlett, Jr.

XIV Bishop of Pennsylvania

The Rt. Rev. Sean Rowe

Bishop of Northeastern Pennsylvania

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The Rt. Rev. George N. Hunt

XI Bishop of Rhode Island

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The Rt. Rev. W. Andrew Waldo

Bishop of Upper South Carolina

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The Rt. Rev. John T. Tarrant

Bishop of South Dakota

 Tennessee

The Rt. Rev. George D. Young, III
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The Rt. Rev. Charles G. vonRosenberg

III Bishop of East Tennessee

 The Rt. Rev. Don E. Johnson

Bishop of West Tennessee

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The Rt. Rev. C. Andrew Doyle

Bishop of Texas

 The Rt. Rev. James E. Folts

VIII Bishop of West Texas

 Utah

The Rt. Rev. Scott B. Hayashi

Bishop of Utah

 The Rt. Rev. Carolyn Tanner Irish

X Bishop of Utah

 The Rt. Rev. Otis Charles

VIII Bishop of Utah

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The Rt. Rev. Thomas C. Ely

Bishop of Vermont

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The Rt. Rev. Shannon S. Johnston

Bishop of Virginia

 The Rt. Rev. David Colin Jones

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The Rt. Rev. Gregory H. Rickel

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The Rt. Rev. Ed Leidel, Jr.

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 The Rt. Rev. Russell E. Jacobus

Bishop of Fond du Lac

The Rt. Rev. Steven Andrew Miller

Bishop of Milwaukee

 Wyoming

The Rt. Rev John S. Smylie

Bishop of Wyoming

 The Rt. Rev. Bob G. Jones

VII Bishop of Wyoming

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