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.
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.
“How good it is, how pleasant for God’s people to live in unity.” – Psalm 133:1
The first time I experienced a gathered meeting was at Mid-Year Meeting of Iowa Yearly Meeting Conservative. We were in an old meeting house up on a hill that overlooked the prairie. It was a windy day. As we sat in meeting for worship, the wind whipped around us. The silence was deep and rich. As the wind swirled, stirring up dust and bringing a breeze into the meeting house, I could sense the Spirit also moving in the room. I felt as though we were one body, coming together.
“Can the Bible be redeemed? Has it been used as a weapon so much that we cannot redeem it?” These were questions that the Rev. Naim Ateek, founder of the Friends of Sabeel, asked at the Wide Tent for Justice: Next Steps for Peace in Palestine/Israel conference at the St. James Episcopal Church in Chicago, co-sponsored by AFSC.
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.