CLWR has a long history of supporting Palestinians. CLWR Executive Director Robert Granke addresses the current hostilities and the work Canadian Lutherans support in the Holy Land.
CLWR’s mission is to challenge the causes and respond to the consequences of poverty. Our mission takes us to many places around the world, usually into areas of conflict and often dealing with mass movements of people who become refugees. Through international and local partners, we save lives while providing support to people through programming which seeks to empower the poor and create environments that enable the establishment of sustainable livelihoods, especially for small-scale farmers and women in communities around the world.
While each context is unique, rarely have we experienced one so complex and challenging as we find today in the West Bank. For decades now, Palestinians in the West Bank have been victims of a cycle of conflict and poverty, which only seems to deepen and worsen over time. The current hostilities in the region are yet another reminder of systemic issues which continue to plague generations of people who are suffering from the behavior and policies of governments and radical movements in the region.
For about 60 years now, CLWR has been engaged in support of Palestinians through high-quality, specialized medical services provided by the Augusta Victoria Hospital (AVH), which is located in East Jerusalem. The AVH is world-renowned as one of the few hospitals in the region that care for Palestinians who require oncology treatment, kidney dialysis, bone marrow transplants and other related services. Lutherans and Christians around the world are very proud of the hospital and the tremendous work of CEO Dr. Tawfiq Nasser and his team. CLWR continues to be actively engaged in support of the Augusta Victoria Hospital and is poised to provide core support for a planned Elder Care Pavilion which will serve the variety of needs of an aging population in Palestine for many years to come.
We are also supporting the training and equipping of younger Palestinian women and men through theLutheran World Federation Vocational Training Program. About 90 per cent of graduates from trades such as carpentry, metalworks, auto mechanics and computer-related courses are able to secure employment and help to build a stronger economy for a future Palestine. We also work collaboratively with theEvangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land in support of Church-run schools and a primary education for future Palestinian leaders.
CLWR remains deeply concerned about the conflict between Israel and Hamas militants and the impact on innocent Palestinians in Gaza. We urge restraint and a scaling up of diplomatic efforts aimed at seeking sustainable solutions to the core issues that plague the region.
At the same time, we appeal for support to CLWR so that we can assist our partners to provide much-needed medical care. The AVH provides cancer treatment to residents of Gaza. This is essential now, and will be even more important when hostilities cease and those who require treatment are able to leave Gaza and travel to East Jerusalem for therapy.
In the West Bank, CLWR is living out its mission through our partnership with the Lutheran World Federation and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land as well as the ACT Alliance. While we pray for peace, we resolve to assist as possible. Please join us in our efforts to save lives and build a peaceful civil society!
-Robert Granke, CLWR Executive Director