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Gaza: Living under siege
Christian Palestinian leader's speaking tour

Constantine Dabbagh, Palestinian Christian and Executive Secretary, Department of Service to Palestinian Refugees (DSPR), Middle East Council of Churches, will be speaking in:

  • Wellington on Thursday, 12 August 2010, from 5.15pm to 6.30pm at St John's in the City hall, corner Willis and Dixon Streets, Wellington; an A4 poster for this event is available here;
  • Christchurch on Friday, 13 August 2010, from 12.30pm to 1.30 pm at Knox Church lounge, 28 Bealey Avenue, Christchurch; an A4 poster for this event is available here.

Constantine directs the provision of health care, education and community services which care for the predominantly Muslim population of Gaza. In particular, the services focus on mothers and babies, vocational education and the provision of psychosocial health services to an increasingly traumatized population.

Constantine Dabbagh was born in Jerusalem in 1938, and in the midst of fierce fighting in 1947, fled as a refugee to the Gaza strip. During his life he has worked for United Nations Peace Keeping Force in Gaza, and for the United Nations in the Republic of Congo (now Zaire). He has consistently advocated non-violence amidst living conditions that clearly have become a humanitarian crisis. His personal and professional dialogue of justice, peace, security, mutual understanding and reconciliation has involved him in critical negotiations between political factions within Palestine, and the Palestinian Authority and the international community.

During the Israeli Defence Forces action in Gaza during January 2009, the major health clinic and central office of the Middle Eastern Council of Churches was destroyed by an Israeli rocket and remains in ruins as a direct result of the blockade of Gaza. No building materials are allowed to enter, and the reuse of rubble is the only source for reconstruction. The offer of a volunteer Australian work team to rebuild the clinic has been rejected by Israel, and necessary entry visas denied.

Efforts are being made by moderate Christian and Muslim leaders to achieve a peaceful resolution of the conflict and to convince the Israeli Government to end the current blockade of Gaza.

Constantine's visit is sponsored by Christian World Service (CWS) and brings you the chance to hear at first hand about life in Gaza under siege and the work of the Department of Service to Palestinian Refugees. For further information please contact CWS, tel 03 366 9274.

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