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Caritas Medical Centre Destroyed In Gaza



14 January 2009

Caritas Medical Centre Destroyed In Gaza

Catholic humanitarian agency Caritas is working under desperate and dangerous circumstances in Gaza.

The crisis in Gaza has been brought home very directly to Caritas following the destruction of a Caritas Jerusalem medical clinic last Friday during an Israeli aerial bombardment. The clinic, in the Al Maghazi district of Central Gaza, was completely destroyed in the bombing that also razed four homes. At least another twenty homes sustained heavy damage in the blast. As all of the families had already fled the area and were staying in various schools of the district, nobody was hurt in the bombing.

Caritas condemns the actions of both the Israeli military in Gaza and the Hamas rocket attacks on Israel. We are aware of the extreme threat to thousands of Palestinians whose lives hang in the balance as Israel steps up military action in contravention of international humanitarian law. Following a period of tight border control of Gaza during which normal human activity was restricted, this conflict will have long-lasting impact on lives of ordinary communities in Gaza.

Michael Smith, Caritas Director in New Zealand said “The violence must stop. Together with other Catholic organisations we are calling for an immediate and permanent ceasefire, the upholding of international humanitarian law, including the protection of civilians and the ability for agencies such as Caritas to carry out their humanitarian activities. The lives of thousands on innocent men, women and children are at stake.”

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Today we have written to Foreign Minister, Hon. Murray McCully urging the New Zealand Government to do more, and in particular to find ways to put further pressure on Israel to cease military activities in Gaza.

Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand has pledged $50,000 to the Caritas Internationalis Gaza Appeal, and is giving people the opportunity to support the people in Gaza in the following ways:

Phone 0800 22 10 22 to make credit card donations or

Donate online using a credit card at or

Post donations to: Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand, PO Box 12-193, Thorndon, Wellington 6144, NEW ZEALAND.

The Caritas Internationalis network comprises 162 Catholic relief, development, and social service organizations working in over 200 countries and territories. It seeks to assist all peoples regardless of race, creed or ethnicity.


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