Archbishop Fred Hiltz, Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, has issued a joint statement with the Rev. David Giuliano, Moderator of the United Church of Canada, calling for an independent investigation into the Israeli bombing of the Shaja’ih Family Healthcare Centre in Gaza City on Jan. 10, 2009. The full text of the letter is below.

January 26, 2009

Dear Prime Minister,

As Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada and Moderator of The United Church of Canada, it is with heavy hearts we write to you today, urging the Government of Canada to call for an independent investigation into the Israeli bombing of the Shaja ih Family Healthcare Centre in Gaza City on January 10, 2009.

We were deeply distressed to learn from the Near East Council of Churches in Gaza, that this church-run healthcare centre, which served approximately 10,000 families and has been co-funded by Canadians and the Canadian International Development Agency, was destroyed on January 10th by missiles fired from the Israeli Defence Force. Such action is a violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention, to which both Israel and Canada are signatories. On behalf of church partners in Gaza and Canadian taxpayers who supported this clinic, we join others in calling for accountability. The United Nations Secretary General is also demanding a full investigation into the bombings of UN facilities in Gaza.

The Shaja ih Family Healthcare Centre was an important ministry of the Christian community in Gaza. It fulfilled a mandate of caring for the most vulnerable in society, especially children and women. With the destruction of The Shaja ih Family Healthcare Centre, those it served suffer even greater vulnerability.

The Anglican Church of Canada and The United Church of Canada are requesting the Government of Canada demand an independent investigation into the destruction of the Shaja ih Family Healthcare Centre in Gaza City, and assurance from the State of Israel, in occupying Gaza, of full compliance with international humanitarian and human rights law.

Sincerely,
Archbishop Fred Hiltz
Primate
Anglican Church of Canada

The Right Rev. David Giuliano
Moderator
The United Church of Canada

c.c.The Honourable Michael Ignatieff, Leader of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition, Liberal Party;
The Honourable Jack Layton, New Democratic Party; The Honourable Gilles Duceppe, Bloc Quebecois
; Ms. Elizabeth May, Green Party;
The Honourable Lawrence Canon, Minister for Foreign Affairs.