Quaker organizations call for a ceasefire in Israel-Palestine

04 November 2023

Friends World Committee for Consultation has joined Quaker agencies, humanitarian charities, Jewish and Muslim peace groups and Christian leaders in the Middle East, in calling for a ceasefire in Israel-Palestine.

The Hamas attack on Israel on October 7 killed over 1,300 Israelis, and civilian hostages were taken by Hamas into Gaza. At the time of writing more than 9000 people have subsequently been killed in Gaza by Israel’s attacks, more than 4000 of them children.

In the West Bank, the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel is warning of skyrocketing violence in the West Bank where 1,000 Palestinians have been forced to leave their homes.  Between 7th October and 1st November, 128 Palestinians were killed in the West Bank by Israeli forces or settlers.

Quakers believe in the sacred worth of each person and stand against violence in all its forms. We mourn all lives lost and lament with everyone who is suffering. We grieve for those who have lost precious lives and pray with those waiting for the return of loved ones and those living under siege and bombardment.

Quakers have been present in the region for more than 150 years, doing educational, peace, humanitarian and human rights work. The American Friends Service Committee has staff in Gaza, all of whom are suffering the effects of the attacks.

Christian Call for Peace 

We also reaffirm the spirit of the Christian call for peace, originally published following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine:

Jesus emphasised: ‘You shall not kill’. We call for an immediate ceasefire, with armed conflict replaced by a peacekeeping dialogue.  

Jesus said: ‘Blessed Are the Peacemakers, for they will be called children of God’. We call for the release of all hostages and the release of all people imprisoned after calling for peace. 

Jesus said: ‘I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing.’ We call for access for humanitarian agencies to support those affected and displaced.

More action

– American Friends Service Committee is offering weekly updates, including hearing from their staff in Gaza. They have also launched an appeal to suppor their emergency response
– Friends Committee on National Legislation held a briefing with AFSC Director Joyce Ajlouny, and can help you write to Congress (US only)
– Quaker Peace and Social Witness (which helps host the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel) has suggested 5 actions you can take, especially if you use social media.
– The Quaker United Nations Office continues to work for peace through the UN
– The Europe and Middle East Section is sharing updates from Friends in the region, including in Ramallah.

Download a PDF version of the Quaker statement here.