Jonathan Fryer

Writer, Lecturer, Broadcaster and Liberal Democrat Politician

Quaker Voices on Israel-Palestine

Posted by jonathanfryer on Sunday, 31st October, 2010

Well over a hundred members of the Society of Friends (Quakers) from around Europe gathered at the Chant d’Oiseau conference centre in Brussels all this weekend for an often passionate debate about the EU and peace-building in Israel and Palestine, organised by the Quaker Council for European Affairs (QCEA). The event got off to a measured start, with a presenttation by the EU’s representative in East Jerusalem, Christian Berger, but as he was talking under Chatham House rules, I cannot report anything he said. However the following morning was an intense experience for many not yet steeped in the modern tragedy that is occupied Palestine, as Jean Zaru (pictured), Clerk of Ramallah Friends Meeting, gave a heartfelt exposé of the realities, including the exodus of many Palestinian Christians — including Quakers — who can no longer take the economic deprivation, the humiliation and the hassle. It’s the pettiness of so much of the treatment West Bank Palestinians receive at the hands of Israeli soldiers and officials that wears people down, on top of outright violence and abuse from an extremist minority of ideological Jewish settlers. At least Jean Zaru is able to travel relatively freely and to take her powerful message round the world. She campaigns for women’s rights, as well as justice for the Palestinians and working with peace groups that include both Palestinians and Israelis. Last year she was given the Anna Lindt award in Stockholm in recognition of her toireless work. As well as the small, historic Meeting House in central Rammalah, there is a Friends International Centre attached, and European and North American Quaker volunteers go regularly to the occupied territories, as ecumenical accompaniers to Palestinians negotiating checkpoints, or to help harvest olive crops or to gather information on the ground.

4 Responses to “Quaker Voices on Israel-Palestine”

  1. Norman said

    Sorry you have got this all wrong the reason why Christians are leaving the Middle East is due to harassment and outright violence from Muslims not Jews. It would be better if you said nothing than mouth propaganda and blood libels against the Jews. The State of Israel unlike most Islamic States guarantees freedom for all religions – you know this so why do you state the opposite – no Jew was ever allowed to pray at the Western Wall whilst Jordan illegally occupoied the Old City of Jerusalem. Yes there is violence between some Palestinians and some Settlers but it is not as you say all one way and nor is it as widespread as you make out. I live in Maale Adumim yes a settlelemnt which is also home to a number of Arabs and there is no violence here.

  2. jonathanfryer said

    How sad that you should distort my views, Norman. You also totally miss the point that the ‘settlers’ should not be there in the West Bank. They are occupiers, not on a noble mission, but rather engaged in an ongoing and sometimes violent process of colonisation of a kind that is completely unacceptable in the 21st century and a clear violation of several internatinal laws.

    • FRANK DAUSZ said

      No doubt due to the long history of persecution it seems that to be Jewish means you never have to say “I’m sorry’

      • walkgodly said

        This attitude of saying I’m sorry is a two way street. I have never heard hamas or any Palestinian/Muslim voice say, I am sorry for the murder of Jews. Since 1948 the Muslims have had one objective, that of a 2nd holocaust and that wiping Israel off the face of the earth. This view of Israel being an occupier is also a lie. Any Muslim, if he is honest knows that the Quran states that God gave the land of Israel to the Jews and Muslims know that God doesn’t lie. The bottom line to the Israeli/Palestinian dilemma, is one and one thing only, prejudice and hatred against the Jew, even after Israel time after time has given land back to the Palestinians. I am not a Jew writing this but a pastor who lives in the United States that has watched what has been going on in the middle east for many years.

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