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Order of Malta condemns attack against humanitarian convoy

“Humanitarian aid must remain neutral and those who provide assistance must be protected” – Grand Chancellor.

“The Sovereign Order of Malta strongly deplores the attack against a convoy of a non-profit organisation in the Gaza Strip, after unloading more than 100 tons of humanitarian food aid, which killed seven aid workers. International Humanitarian Law remains under threat,” declared the Grand Chancellor Riccardo Paternò in the aftermath of the Israeli raid. “Attacks on civilians or protected infrastructure, including schools and hospitals, are prohibited. Humanitarian aid is and must remain neutral and those in need and those who provide assistance should be protected, even under the worst and most dangerous situations of conflict. The Order of Malta believes that the humanitarian organisations should gather together around a fundamental objective: uphold International Humanitarian Law and bring forward a coordinated activity of advocacy with Governments and the major international organisations.”

In Bethlehem – in the West Bank – the Order of Malta runs the Holy Family Hospital where over 4,500 babies are born every year. It is the only hospital in the region equipped with an intensive neonatology ward capable of treating premature babies or those born with serious genetic disorders. Located a few minutes away from the Church of the Nativity, the Hospital has seen more than 100,000 babies born since 1990, some at less than 32 weeks’ gestation.

As a university hospital, the Holy Family Hospital guarantees training and continuous education; for example, in 2021, 200 nurses and midwives were trained. The staff consists of Christian and Muslim doctors and nurses. The Holy Family Hospital serves a catchment area of one million people; it is an extremely important reference hospital for the health of women and children in the region.

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The mission of the Order of Malta is inspired by its tradition of ‘Tuitio Fidei et Obsequium Pauperum', to assist the poor and the sick, and bear witness to the Christian faith.


The Sovereign Order of Malta is a sovereign subject of international law. The Order - which is based in Rome, in via Condotti - has its own Government, an independent magistracy, and bilateral diplomatic relations with 110 countries.


The Order of St John of Jerusalem is one of the oldest institutions of Western and Christian civilisation. Present in Palestine in around 1048, it is a lay religious Order, traditionally of military, chivalrous, noble nature.