News of L’Arche Bethlehem – October 12, 2023
Like many of you, L’Arche International is concerned about the war situation and crisis unleashed in Israel and the Palestinian territory in Gaza. During this time of crisis in the Middle East, we are monitoring the situation, remaining in close contact with L’Arche Bethlehem which has 45 people with intellectual disability working in the handicraft workshop as well as running a hotel.
The L’Arche community in Palestine is located in Bethlehem, which is in the West Bank and approximately 115 km from the Gaza Strip. Bethlehem was therefore not directly affected by the violence and members of the community are safe for the moment. However, the situation remains unpredictable. There are barriers everywhere, the roads between towns are blocked; no one can leave the territory. The internet connection remains unstable.
Souzy Fouad Shenouda, the Envoy of L’Arche International, who accompanies L’Arche in Bethlehem, is in daily contact with them. “Faced with the current situation, the Ma’an Lil Hayat community lives day by day. The current concern is about income for future months, due to the closure of the community-run hotel and the very minimal possibility of participating in Christmas bazaars or shipping craft products for outside. As a safety measure and to continue the activities of the workshop, which provides a workplace for 45 people living with disabilities, the community preferred to ask parents to provide transportation, because the roads are not always open and drivers are no longer available.”
The United Nations has recognized that people with disabilities are more affected than others in times of war and natural disasters. As a Federation of communities, many of which are located in unstable regions of the world, L’Arche does everything possible to support its most deprived members. In times of crisis, people with disabilities must not be left behind in emergency responses and support.