In the aftermath of World War II AFSC gained experience resettling refugees and displaced persons, and was asked by the United Nations to organize relief efforts for Palestinian Arab refugees in the Gaza Strip. This continued until the United Nations Relief Works Agency began operations on May 1, 1950. From its initial engagement with refugees in Gaza, AFSC has been committed to peace-building as well as relief efforts.
Today, AFSC through its Palestinian staff and partners in Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem supports young people and their communities to enable them to marshal local resources that can directly meet pressing humanitarian, social and educational needs.
Over the past eight years the AFSC Palestine Youth Program has worked with over 4,000 young people, offering them the opportunity to use their talents and develop their skills to undertake projects that they themselves have identified in their local community. In this project AFSC works in partnership with universities, youth organizations and the Palestinian Ministries of Youth and Education and the United Nations (UNRWA).
Shortly after the end of Israel’s “Operation Cast Lead” assault on Gaza in January 2009 AFSC provided emergency humanitarian assistance to hospitals and clinics and to agencies in Gaza feeding orphaned and displaced children. AFSC works with former Youth Program participants and other partner organizations to help families to repair damaged homes using as much as possible locally available materials not subject to the continuing Israeli and Egyptian blockade of the Gaza Strip.