Fighting Engulfs a Christian Hospital in Jerusalem

Lutherans call conflict on their hospital grounds an affront to humanitarian purposes.

A Christian-run hospital at the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem has found itself at the center of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Not only is this institution treating the wounded from the recent clashes, but the building has itself come under attack.

On a normal day, many tourists to the Holy Land climb the tower at the Augusta Victoria Hospital for a bird's-eye view of Jerusalem's walled Old City. The hospital's beautiful stone buildings and courtyard are often a welcome relief from the city's hustle and bustle.

But life at the hospital, administered by the Lutheran World Federation (LWF), has not been normal in recent days. For almost two weeks, Augusta Victoria has been cut off from most of the community it serves—Israeli soldiers surrounded the area around the hospital after Palestinians in local riots entered the grounds to seek refuge from the soldiers. The Palestinians were pursued by Israeli soldiers who opened fire without warning, sending terrified hospital staff and patients ducking for cover.

Craig Kippels, chief executive of the hospital and LWF representative in Jerusalem, witnessed the events. "Some of the young Palestinians ran into our property adjacent to the hospital," he told ENI. "Our security began the process of attempting to stem the flow of those youth coming into the property, but in the process, the Israeli military basically came through our main entrance, stormed the length of the property, and began shooting on our property."

Kippels said that in the aftermath of the shootings, the hospital staff brought stretchers and began carrying victims into the emergency ward. At least one of the wounded did not survive.

"Some of the patients who came into our emergency room were wounded with live ammunition," ...

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March
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