Quaker leader speaks out after White House meeting and airdrop announcement

Layne Mullett
Director of Media Relations


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WASHINGTON, DC (March 1, 2024) – Today, Joyce Ajlouny, the General Secretary of the American Friends Service Committee, joined a delegation of faith leaders meeting with White House officials about the over 30,000 Palestinians killed by the Israeli military, the worsening humanitarian crisis, and the responsibility of the U.S. government to take immediate action. Shortly before the meeting took place, the White House announced plans to airdrop humanitarian aid into Gaza in the coming days. The American Friends Service Committee is a Quaker organization that has been supporting humanitarian efforts in Gaza since 1948 and currently has staff in Gaza, Ramallah, and Jerusalem, as well as in Jordan. The White House meeting was organized by Churches for Middle East Peace.

After the meeting, Joyce Ajlouny issued the following statement: “Today we met with Biden administration staff from the National Security Council, the Domestic Policy Council, and the Office of Public Engagement to demand an end to the genocide in Gaza and immediate action to address the catastrophic humanitarian crisis that is affecting more than two million people. I joined with people representing many different churches and denominations to call for an immediate and permanent cease-fire and full access for humanitarian aid. The Biden Administration has the power to make this happen.  

While we are happy to see any aid reaching people in Gaza, airdrops are not enough. It is a cruel irony to drop food when at the same time you are directly responsible for dropping bombs. We need a cease-fire and full humanitarian access.

But we also know that a cease-fire and humanitarian relief are not enough. As a Palestinian, I know the history that got us here very intimately. And as a Palestinian and a Quaker I know that a just and lasting peace will only come when we address the apartheid state imposed on Palestinians for decades. 14 successive presidential administrations have supported the Israeli occupation. Now the Biden administration is funding a genocide. Calls for restraint mean little when Israel is ignoring us and our tax dollars are used to pay for Israel’s aggression.

People across the U.S. and the world are rising up and demanding justice. The White House has to uphold democratic principles, listen to the people, and take prompt action”

AFSC staff in the Middle East, the U.S., and around the world have also been advocating and protesting to call for a cease-fire and an end to occupation and apartheid. Despite losing many family members and being displaced themselves, AFSC staff in Gaza are tirelessly working to provide life-saving humanitarian relief with limited supplies and restrictions imposed by Israel. They have been serving hot meals from an open-air kitchen to displaced people living outside of shelters. They are also providing families with water, food parcels and fresh vegetables, have distributed hygiene kits and other critical supplies to women and seniors, and hosted activities for children.

Learn more about AFSC’s work in Gaza here: https://afsc.org/topics/gaza-israel


The American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) promotes a world free of violence, inequality, and oppression. Guided by the Quaker belief in the divine light within each person, we nurture the seeds of change and the respect for human life to fundamentally transform our societies and institutions. We work with people and partners worldwide, of all faiths and backgrounds, to meet urgent community needs, challenge injustice, and build peace.