From the Worldwide Faith News archives www.wfn.org
ACNS3286 Gaza Bombing: Message from the Bishop of Jerusalem
"Anglican Communion News Service" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Fri, 31 Jan 2003 23:24:20 -0000
ACNS 3286 | MIDDLE EAST | 31 JANUARY 2003
Gaza Bombing: Message from the Bishop of Jerusalem
I am for peace; but when I speak, they are for war! Psalm 120:7.
Salaam and grace in the name of our Lord, Jesus Christ and blessed greetings
to you from Jerusalem.
I want to thank you for your many emails, telephone calls and faxes in
support of the people of St Philip's Episcopal Church and Ahli Arab
Hospital. Your support truly makes a difference to us, and is greatly
I want to further update you on the specifics of the missile fired at the St
Philip's Episcopal Church in Gaza. It was an American Made Tau missile. It
can be watched after firing, and directed more precisely through a remote
control guidance device. The missile itself weighs 24.5 kilograms, and the
explosive component is 2.8 kilograms (a little over 6 pounds). It has a
capacity to pierce 60 cm of steel and penetrate 120 of cement. Needless to
say, it is not surprising that it punched a meter and a half hole in the
marble adjacent to the alter.
Many of you asked why this has happened to our Church, our Hospital and our
people. Many of you have further asked us if it could have been a mistake. I
am absolutely certain this was not a mistake. As I said before, this was a
guided missile. St Philip's is in the centre of the walled Ahli Arab
Hospital compound, surrounded by large Red Cross and Anglican flags. I fear
that we are being targeted.
Israeli Brigadier-General Tzvika Fogel told Reuters that helicopters had
fired five missiles at a suspected Palestinian weapons factory. But he said
two of the missiles malfunctioned and one landed "in the vicinity" of St
Philip's. The vicinity of St Philip's translates into a missile through the
centre of the roof, missing the altar by less than a metre. The foundry
destroyed by this attack was slightly less than a kilometer away. The truth
is simply that this was an attack on our ministry. In spite of this
statement, we have had no official contact from the Israeli military
admitting to the attack, and offering an apology.
I have been told by many of our Diocesan family and friends that we were
target for taking too loud a stand for peace and justice; that our ministry
of peace and reconciliation, of witnessing the truth of our circumstances
calls the attention of those who fight against peace.
Thank you for your support and for your voice in condemnation of this
attack. Know that this comes with my prayers and best wishes.
Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart. 2
+The Rt Revd Riah Abu El-Assal
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