Quakers from around the world are in anguish and deeply concerned with the violence in Gaza and Israel. As a historic peace church, we join in the call for peace in the world. After the statements shared below, you’ll find resources if you are looking for ways to support relief in the Middle East and care for others in community.
As members of the Religious Society of Friends, we believe there is that of God in everyone, be they Muslim or Jewish, Palestinian or Israeli.
As we witness continued violence in Israel and Palestine, our hearts are heavy with sorrow and a yearning for peace. The willingness to commit violence across lands and homes is a destructive and evil force that echoes throughout human history with ramifications in every faith, home, and heart. The land where the Abrahamic faiths were born is scarred again. The lives of families are ripped apart again.
The violence and death in Gaza and Israel in recent days has been acutely horrifying, even in the context of decades of conflict and oppression. We call for the soldiers and governments in Israel and Palestine to stop violence now.
The underlying realities of conflict, injustice, and violence must change so that the realities of unity, justice, and peace can transcend war. We are all called to turn our hearts and labor to this change. These are not problems that can be addressed with one approach or with attention to one side or one truth or one thread of history. We are required by our faith to work for justice and peace. We must do this together with our neighbors. Resolution won’t be immediate, but participation in the resolution must start now.
As stated in the 1660 Declaration, this is our testimony to the whole world.
Melissa Rycroft, Presiding Clerk
Christie Duncan-Tessmer, General Secretary
A Declaration to Charles II 1660 — Friends Peace Testimony
All bloody principles and practices, we, as to our own particulars, do utterly deny, with all outward wars and strife and [fighting] with outward weapons, for any end or under any [pretense] whatsoever. And this is our testimony to the whole world. The spirit of Christ, by which we are guided, is not changeable, so as once to command us from a thing as evil and again to move unto it; and we do certainly know, and so testify to the world, that the spirit of Christ, which leads us into all Truth, will never move us to fight and war against any man with outward weapons, neither for the kingdom of Christ, nor for the kingdoms of this world.
— GEORGE FOX, GERALD ROBERTS, HENRY FELL, RICHARD HUBBERTHORN, JOHN BOULTON, JOHN HINDE, JOHN STUBBS, LEONARD FELL, JOHN FURLEY JNR., FRANCIS HOWGILL, SAMUEL FISHER, THOMAS MOORE
Quaker organizations call for a ceasefire and humanitarian protections in Gaza
National and international Quaker organizations joined together on this statement.
Read the full October 17, 2023 statement here.
Quakers believe in the sacred worth of each person and stand against violence in all its forms. As Quaker organizations, we mourn all lives lost and lament with everyone who is suffering. We grieve for those in Israel and Palestine who have lost precious lives. We pray with those waiting for the return of loved ones and those living under siege and bombardment.
Additional statements, information, and how to support:
- National Council of Churches Statement
- Interfaith Leaders Join Call for Ceasefire in Israel and Occupied Palestinian Territory (shared by Friends Committee on National Legislation)
- “Israel Palestine After the Atrocities: Issues, Responses and Prospects” Recorded talk with Deb and Jim Fine, October 15, 2023 at Fallsington Meeting
- Timeline of Quaker Involvement in the Middle East, Middle East Collaborative
- AFSC Action Hour: Ceasefire Now — Every Friday starting October 20th at 12pm ET, join AFSC staff to hear updates from Gaza. Then, take action with us as we contact elected officials and call for an immediate ceasefire.
- AFSC Meeting for Worship with Attention to Peace in Palestine and Israel October 27, 11 AM to 12 PM ET
- Churches for Middle East Peace – CMEP works to mobilize U.S. Christians to be advocates of equality, human rights, security, and justice for Israelis, Palestinians, and all people of the Middle East.
- Save The Children has been around for nearly 100 years, with a presence in the West Bank and Gaza for the last eighty years. You can help them continue that work through their Children’s Emergency Fund.
- Doctors Without Borders/MSF have provided care in Gaza for the past 20 years. Connect with their work here.
- Sesame Workshop: Be Present To The Feelings. Grown-up feelings and children’s feelings in an article on comfort strategies for understanding and regulating emotions is a good place to start.
- How to talk to children about the violence in Israel and Gaza (NPR)