A delegation from the group “The Elders” visited Palestine recently to see and hear about the situation on the ground and see the work of the Lutheran World Federation in Jerusalem. The Elders is an independent group of respected leaders who work together for peace and human rights. Founded by Nelson Mandela in 2007 and chaired by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the Elders work to find solutions to some of the world’s most challenging political issues.
Members from the group visited with LWF President Bishop Munib Younan of the ELCJHL and a roundtable of others he had assembled to hear more about faith and life under occupation. Read more about this visit.
President Jimmy Carter led the group to the LWF Jerusalem campus. Former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson and Gro Harlem Brundland, former Prime Minister of Norway and former Director-General of the World Health Organization, were a part of the group.
Dr. Tawfiq Nasser, CEO of Augusta Victoria Hospital (AVH), and Rev. Mark Brown, the Regional Representative of the Lutheran World Federation in Jerusalem and the Middle East, received the guests and spoke about the work of the Lutheran World Federation in areas of education and health, as well as the issues of access to healthcare facing Palestinians. Dr. Nasser and Rev. Brown emphasized the role of Augusta Victoria Hospital as a specialty care facility providing treatment for Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza. In some cases, such as specialized cancer treatment and juvenile dialysis, AVH is the only place in the West Bank where such care is provided.
The delegation visited the $4.9 million medical linear accelerator provided by USAID and housed in a radiation-safe facility built with support from the Norwegian Government, as well as the hospital’s Specialized Center for Child Care, where they met young Palestinian children receiving dialysis or cancer treatment at AVH.
In a statement on The Elders website about their visit, Prime Minister Brundtland stated:
“As a medical doctor, I was particularly affected by our visit to Augusta Victoria Hospital in East Jerusalem, a Palestinian model of excellence for the entire region which faces enormous difficulties in treating those people nearest to it from the West Bank – never mind Palestinians from Gaza – due to Israeli travel restrictions. It tragically illustrates the direct human impact of the present deadlock.”
– From the LWF Jerusalem story – Read full LWF story