|Information about Palestinian suffering and nonviolent resistance to
Israel's Occupation is difficult to find in U.S. mainstream media. While PIAG Friends have always believed that military solutions to human problems
are cruel and unnecessary, we became convinced of the need to actively resist
the Occupation by listening to people and organizations we felt we could
trust, and, for some of us, by making personal visits to the region.
Our closest Quaker contacts are through Friends School in Ramallah, which has recently launched an excellent e-magazine, Behind the Wall. Created by high school students and their instructor, a former Michigan lawmaker, this site provides first-hand accounts of the boys' experiences living in the West Bank under the Occupation.
PIAG members and friends have arranged visits to Palestine through Christian Peacemaker Teams, Holy Land Trust, International Solidarity Movement, and the Michigan Peace Team. First hand reports of their experiences living with Palestinian families, working with Palestinian and Israeli peace groups to resist destruction of homes and agricultural lands, and talking with Israeli soldiers who are "just doing their job" have provided us with a deeper understanding of the conflict. Art Gish's book, Hebron Journal, is a particularly moving example of non-violent activism in the region.
Our Quaker belief in conscientious objection to war has led us respect and support the nearly 2000 Israeli military personnel and high school students ("Shimistim") who refuse to serve in the Occupation, sometimes as great cost to themselves. Interviews with some of these "refusniks" are found in Ronit Chachem's excellent book, Breaking Ranks. We are moved by accounts that describe a soldier's change of heart as he imagines an elderly Palestinian as his own grandfather, or as he sits at an outpost watching farm families go about their daily lives. Such testimonies give us hope that war and violence are not an inevitable part of the human condition, but are learned responses that can be tempered by education, imagination, and the courage to refuse.
Our belief in the power of nonviolent activism has prompted us to explore Palestinian, Israeli, and US Jewish peace organizations that resist the Occupation: Btselem; Yesh Gvul, Jewish Voice for Peace, Peace Now, Rapprochement, and many others.
News sources that we have found helpful in providing balance to the reportage commonly found in U.S. media are the Electronic Intifada, the Arab news source Al-Jazeera, and Alison Weir's excellent website, If Americans Knew.
This site was last updated 01/24/2013