This meeting begins the planning for withdrawal of AFSC staff from Gaza, based on the recent UN General Assembly formation of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees. The new agency would take over on March 31, 1950, except that they are not ready in any sense for this immense responsibility.
The UN wants AFSC to stay one month longer to allow their new agency to prepare. Yet AFSC staff strongly recommend that we NOT agree, for fear of endless delays in the transition. Despite much back and forth, our staff clearly understands that this is a no-win situation for the Palestinians and for AFSC.
The Palestinian Subcommittee wants overlap between Quaker oversight and the new UN team, to allow for a smooth, orderly transition. They express great concern for continuity of the food supply, and maintenance of routines to promote a sense of security among the refugees.
The greatest long-term concern held by AFSC is schooling. Currently the Service Committee-run schools are 1) open to girls, 2) teaching “not just propaganda,” and 3) open to everyone. All of this is revolutionary for the region. AFSC staff strongly want to continue this approach to education for all the children.