“All bloody principles and practices we do utterly deny, with all outward wars, and strife, and fightings with outward weapons, for any end, or under any pretence whatsoever, and this is our testimony to the whole world… “
So reads the famous testimony of Friends to Charles II in 1660. While contexts and conflicts change, Friends’ conviction that violence is unacceptable and contrary to the will of God is ongoing.
In a letter expressing our concern regarding the situation in Israel and Palestine, Lesley Robertson, Clerk of Canadian Friends Service Committee states, “We are moved by the sufferings of the Palestinian and Israeli peoples. This suffering has gone on too long and must not be allowed to continue. We know that both Israelis and Palestinians have committed acts of violence against each other. We are also aware of the huge inequality of power between them.
“As a people of faith, we challenge all people, and particularly people of faith, not to put their trust in tanks or bombs or military aggression, but to open themselves to the Spirit of Love which counsels a path of nonviolence. Such a path recognizes the dignity of all peoples and seeks solutions to international conflicts through just and peaceful means.”
We lament the loss of all lives in Israel and Palestine, and hold all in the Light during this tragic time.
In such profoundly troubling situations, Quakers often want to help provide humanitarian relief. The most effective and sensible approach is to support groups that are already on the ground in the region and working in ways consistent with Friends’ beliefs. As CFSC’s partner (PCR) is in the West Bank and does not do humanitarian aid work, we recommend donating through Mennonite Central Committee Canada or Doctors without Borders.
For news from the region, visit the CFSC-funded International Middle East Media Centre (based in the West Bank, not Gaza).