The LWF has been serving the needs of Palestinian refugees in East Jerusalem and the West Bank for more than 50 years. As a major Christian presence on the Mount of Olives, the LWF/DWS Jerusalem Program provides essential health care, vocational training, scholarships and support for blind workers, and promotes justice, peace and reconciliation while engaging and serving the diverse and divided communities of the region.
The Israeli separation wall continues to have devastating effects on Palestinian communities and institutions throughout East Jerusalem and the West Bank. Many neighborhoods have a portion in the West Bank under Palestinian sovereignty and a portion in Jerusalem under Israeli control, thus dividing families, separating farmers from their land, limiting owners’ access to their businesses, cutting off workers from their places of employment, preventing students and teachers from getting to their classes, and depriving patients of medical treatment. The LWF Central Office, Augusta Victoria Hospital and the Vocational Training Center will be located in areas under Israeli control, making access by West Bank Palestinians extremely difficult, and perhaps impossible, unless special arrangements can be made for students, patients, teachers, hospital staff and others.
LWF/DWS health services and vocational training provide needed services and stability, while specialty services, emergency service and job creation in the West Bank help to meet the critical needs of the refugees and the poor who are affected the most by the violence, closures and loss of income. Many Palestinians in need of healthcare are delaying seeking the services they need and, in many cases, their situation has then become more complicated and serious.
Augusta Victoria Hospital (AVH)
The LWF Augusta Victoria Hospital (LWF-AVH) responds to critical emergency situations that result from the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, including: a 24-hour emergency room; a medical transport unit and medical staff to attend trouble spots in and around Jerusalem; and emergency standby services whenever casualties are anticipated at the hospital.
AVH provides quality health services to refugees and others who have nowhere else to receive these services. Specialty services (not offered anywhere else in Palestine) include pediatric dialysis, ear/nose/throat surgery and gastro-intestinal procedures. The hospital’s cancer program treats a growing number of chemotherapy patients, and the installation of a linear accelerator will enable the hospital to be the first to offer radiation therapy in the Palestinian Territories.
AVH serves all patients regardless of race, gender, religion, nationality, ethnic origin or political persuasion.
Village Health Clinics (VHC)
The Village Health Clinics provide health care and health education to five villages in the most neglected areas of the West Bank as an integral component in the overall primary care network. Many of the Palestinians served have no ready access to other health services, or cannot reach AVH to receive services that would have been accessible there before the imposition of severe mobility restrictions. Some of the villages served will be separated from the West bank by the wall under construction. To ensure continuation of primary health care, the service delivery system must be adjusted.
Vocational Training Center (VTC)
To empower young people and contribute to building civil society, the Vocational Training Center evolves to meet the needs of its students in terms of social and emotional welfare, personal enrichment, education and employability, together with an emphasis on conflict resolution and leadership skills. The student group – generally aged 16 to 18 and without an academic option – is at very high risk to be involved in violence and retaliation in the continuing conflict. The VTC offers a challenging program with a positive focus for their energy and creativity. In response to restrictions on movement, the center has expanded the boarding section to accommodate staff and students who cannot reach the school on a daily basis.
The goal of this program is to assist Palestinian students from the occupied Palestinian Territories in their pursuit of undergraduate education. A near-equal balance of Christian and Muslim students struggle through curfews, closures and military roadblocks to attend local universities.
Workshop for the Blind
This semi-autonomous workshop continues to provide employment for blind workers. The LWF/DWS program pays rent for the facility, supplies materials and provides health insurance for the workers. The deteriorating economic situation and restrictive movement have reduced sales significantly.
For further information please contact:
Rev. Eberhard Hitzler, DWS Director
Rev. Mark Brown, Regional Representative