Udi Segal, a 19 year old Israeli, refused his mandatory military service on July 28 and was sentenced to 20 days in prison. Especially now, as Israel's ongoing attack on Gaza has claimed the lives of over 1,000 people, Udi's refusal to serve in an occupying force is an important act of resistance.
Note: I met Ayah Bashir in Gaza in May. She is a program participant in AFSC’s Palestinian Youth: Together for Change program and has worked nonviolently for peace for years. She supports the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement and has worked with agricultural committees in Gaza. I have been hearing from her almost daily with reports of bombing and friends who have died.
“If you've come here to help me, you're wasting your time. But if you've come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.” ― Australian Aboriginal Elder Lilla Watson
Bil’in is a traditional Palestinian farming village in the West Bank of about 1,000 acres that is home to 1,900 people. When I first entered the village on our recent delegation to the region I was struck by two things.
Note: Sandra Tamari’s recent post on Acting in Faith spoke of the terrible price parents in the Occupied West Bank have paid for years with little or no protest from the international community as their children have been killed and arrested, usually with no one being held accountable. It makes clear that occupation is brutal and that that violence is felt every day.
Sandra Tamari, a Palestinian Quaker activist, offers her reflections on the abduction and killing of three Israeli teenagers, the abduction and burning alive of a young Palestinian, the collective punishment and mass arrests of Palestinians by Israel, and the continued siege and renewed attacks on Gaza.
This post is the fourth in a series of Acting in Faith entries by members of a May AFSC staff delegation to Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory. Mike Merryman-Lotze is program director of AFSC's Israel-Palestine program and served as one of two hosts for the delegation.
This post is one of a series of reflections from 10 AFSC staff members who went on a delegation to Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory in May 2014. The trip left a huge impression and gave our staff much inspiration to continue to work for justice and peace in the region.
I’m sure you’ve heard the expression before—organizing Quakers is like “herding cats,” an impossibly frustrating task, often leading to an overabundance of structures created to quell the insecurities of so many strong-minded individuals. But that doesn’t stop us from trying to work together, motivated by a deep, Spiritually grounded commitment to justice. This spring, I witnessed one Yearly Meeting employ a variety of methods—both spiritual and intellectual—to bring together one Quaker body for deep, impactful social change work grounded in Love.
Note: In early May I was one of ten AFSC staff that traveled to Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories to learn about AFSC’s work, meet partners and learn about the current context and situation there. AFSC youth organizer Shirien was another of the people on the delegation. Though she was detained for four and a half hours at Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv, she was admitted into the country. During the trip she was able to visit the destroyed villages of her parents’ families, Calonia and Majdal Yaba.
AFSC is a Quaker organization devoted to service, development, and peace programs throughout the world. Our work is based on the belief in the worth of every person, and faith in the power of love to overcome violence and injustice. Learn more
Where we work
AFSC has offices around the world. To see a complete list see the Where We Work page.