The Archbishop of Canterbury, with a surprise visit to Gaza during his 12-day tour through the Holy Land.
Justin Welby was three and a half hours in the Gaza strip, was the scene of repeated conflicts over the past ten years and is governed by the militant group Hamas.
The Archbishop, who was accompanied was granted by the Anglican Bishop of Jerusalem, Suheil Dawani, and two helpers, Israeli permits and the given safety distance in the last minute.
Welby described his brief visit to the densely populated and impoverished area as “exceptional”. About 1.9 million Palestinians live in the Gaza strip, which is surrounded on three sides by walls and fences and Blockade by the Israeli Navy along the coast.
Gaza has a tiny, mostly Orthodox Christian population of about 3,000. Although you have intimidation and threats from some Islamist groups in the past, they are tolerated by Hamas, which has ruled Gaza in the past 10 years.
Archbishop Suheil, far to the left, and Archbishop Welby, second from left, at the Commonwealth war cemetery in Gaza. Photo: Supplied
In Gaza city, Welby, the St John’s Eye hospital and the al-Ahli Arab hospital, which is under the auspices of the Episcopal diocese of Jerusalem. visited The Archbishop, who led the chapel service in the hospital, said the “generous humanitarian aid” was inspiring.
He also laid a wreath at the Commonwealth war graves Commission cemetery is the home of more than 3,000 graves from the first world war. Welby mothers father fought from the side of the great in Gaza.
Gaza is in the midst of a power crisis, with residents from power outages of up to 20 hours of the day, according to the UN. The Palestinian authority based in Ramallah in the West Bank, has said it is the stop-payment for the delivered electricity to the Strip. The PA’s intention is to increase the pressure on Hamas.
During his trip, Welby, visit to Bethlehem, the city of the mayor, a Christian, Vera Baboun. He is also Palestinian Christians meet, their houses, land and livelihoods have been negatively impacted by the huge concrete wall, the Bethlehem-sections and the neighboring villages of Jerusalem. He also plans to visit the West Bank city of Hebron.