Jalila Ayyad was buried Saint Porphyrius Greek Orthodox church in Gaza City on Monday by her widow George and surviving family members. An Israeli airstrike killed her on Sunday, leaving one of her sons in a critical condition and their home destroyed.
Jalila, 60 years, is another casualty in the conflict between Israel and Hamas that broke out in early July. She is the first Christian to be killed. Over a 1000 people have been killed in all, most of them Palestinian civilians.
Fr. Raed Abusahlia, General Director of Caritas Jerusalem, said, “The cost of this war, like other wars, is not the cost of destruction and mere numbers of casualties from both sides. These are people. Human beings who have names, parents, children, brothers, sisters and beloved family members.”
One of her sons, Jeries, is in hospital in a very critical condition. He lost both his legs, is suffering from third degree burns over 70 percent of his body and has head injuries.
Caritas Jerusalem is currently trying to transfer Jeries from Gaza hospital to St. Joseph Hospital in East Jerusalem in order to save his life.
Fr. Raed Abusahlia, General Director of Caritas Jerusalem, said, “I know this poor and simple family very well. Jalila, God Bless her soul, is originally from Taybeh, where I was the parish priest for ten years.
“They used to attend mass on Christmas and Easter there, when they were able to get a permit to get out of Gaza. Now that they have lost everything. The mother has been killed, the son is critically injured and the home is completely destroyed.
“We at Caritas Jerusalem will do everything possible to stand by them and support them in an attempt to alleviate their pain, agony and suffering.”
Pope Francis called for peace on Sunday at his Angelus address in Saint Peter’s Square. “Please stop! I ask you with all my heart, it’s time to stop,” he said.
“Brothers and sisters, never war, never war! I am thinking above all of children, who are deprived of the hope of a worthwhile life, of a future,” the pope said.
“Dead childen, injured children, mutilated children, orphaned children, children whose toys are things left over from war, children who can’t smile any more.”