Christians are quietly helping survivors cope with mounds of wreckage as the Gaza Strip is left with billions in damages, thousands who are dead and wounded, and lives that are irreparably damaged.
"Most of the Gaza strip is like a large refugee camp. It was like that months ago, but it's gotten worse,” said “Charles,” whose name is withheld for security reasons, of the ministry Partners International, to Mission Network News. “To try to keep missiles and arms out of Gaza, Israel has secured the borders in a much harsher way. They've also eliminated smuggling to keep weapons out, but that also keeps out basic food stuffs."
Arab Christians working with Partners International and Jerusalem Evangelical Outreach are doing what they can to provide basic food such as rice and canned goods, as well as blankets, clothing and medicine to war victims.
“Anything that we can do to help alleviate some of the suffering and minister the message of Jesus will be greatly empowered by he Lord Himself,” Charles said.
Fighting between Israel and Hamas stopped Sunday with a ceasefire after more than three weeks of heavy air raids and rocket firings. More than 1,300 Palestinians died and about 5,400 were injured over the course of the conflict, according to Palestinian Authority’s Central Bureau of Statistics.
Israel said 13 of its citizens were killed during the violence.
U.N. Chief Ban Ki-moon visited the bombed U.N. compound in Gaza on Tuesday and described the situation as “heartbreaking” when he saw firsthand the aftermath of the conflict.
“I have condemned from the outbreak of this conflict the excessive use of force by Israeli forces in Gaza. I view the rocket attacks into Israel as completely unacceptable. We need to restore basic respect for civilians," Ban said Tuesday, according to CNN.
The U.N. secretary-general also said he was “deeply grieved" by what he saw that day.
His visit was in part a push for investigation on the U.N. central warehouse that was destroyed by Israel tank shells last week resulting in the loss of tens of millions of dollars in supplies and aid.
Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barack had told Ban that the incident was “a grave mistake” and accused Hamas of firing at Israeli forces adjacent to the U.N. buildings.
But a U.N. Relief and Works Agency spokesman said there was no militant or militant activity on the compound.
After his visit to Gaza, Ban will visit Sderot, the southern Israeli city that had endured years of Hamas rocket attacks.