From the minutes of New England Yearly Meeting 2002
2002–31. The Co-Clerk of Peace & Social Concerns, presented a minute on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. As we began discussion on the minute, we discerned deep and historical divisions amongst us. We were reminded that peace begins with us, that it begins here, and that we must look within ourselves for the seeds of violence and discrimination. We will take up the minute again.
2002–53. The clerk offered a prayer for the creation of a safe space where we conduct business while we revisit the minute on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. After careful and prayerful discussion, with one Friend expressing disappointment and standing aside, Friends approved the following minute:
Minute on Israeli/Palestinian Conflict
The tragedy in Israel and Palestine persists. We are easily drawn into the fearsome political rhetoric of that conflict, but the work of peacemakers is far more difficult. Our work begins with deep prayer, deep listening, and discerning for the “seeds of war” in our lives. We know today, as Friends have known throughout our history, that it is our task to listen deeply, heal and nurture. We know this because of our experience of the Divine Light in our lives, as it compels us to reject using violence to solve conflicts.
Although rarely recognized by our media, there are committed peacemakers in Israel and Palestine. There are also peacemakers within the Jewish and Arab communities in our country. Friends need to stand with them, support their witness, and learn from them. There is also a great need within our own communities for dialogue about this conflict. We call on meetings throughout New England to lead this work, challenging all people of faith to work and pray for peace and justice, not to take sides.
Our century-long presence at the Ramallah Friends Schools gives Quakers a unique opportunity to continue to support peacemaking efforts in the region. We ask that our Yearly Meeting issue a call to New England Friends to send money and workers, as needed, to the Schools and to Ramallah Friends Meeting, and to strengthen our commitment to their ongoing support.
We are also called by our historic tradition to provide relief and reconciliation to those who suffer on all sides of this conflict. We must seek ways to provide that ministry to both Palestinians and Israelis. The American Friends Service Committee offers us the Palestine-Israel Crisis Fund. The Fellowship of Reconciliation offers us an Interfaith Peace-Builders Delegation to the region, and other opportunities exist. Whatever specific activities we choose, let us choose the path of peace.