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Saturday, December 3, 2016
Quakers to boycott products from Israeli settlements
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Quakers in Britain have agreed to boycott products from the Israeli settlements in the West Bank.  The settlements are illegal under international law. Quakers consider that this boycott is a nonviolent move for peace for Israelis and Palestinians. The decision makes clear that Quakers are not boycotting Israel.
 
Half a million Israeli settlers live illegally in the West Bank (including East Jerusalem). The settlements and infrastructure on Palestinian land are protected by the Israeli government and military and prevent or restrict Palestinians access to their land, water supplies, education, health services and more. Extensive settlement infrastructure divides up Palestinian land, creating obstacles to peace.
 
Palestinian Quakers are calling for Quakers around the world to consider boycott, divestment and sanctions because of the worsening situation caused by Israel’s occupation. The decision was made on Saturday (2 April) by the representative decision-making body for Quakers in Britain, Meeting for Sufferings. The Meeting has not yet considered a Quaker view on divestment and sanctions.
 
The Meeting heard that most Jewish Israeli peace groups support boycotts of settlement products.
 
“People matter more than territory” says the minute from the Meeting. And, “We pray fervently for both Israelis and Palestinians, keeping them together in our hearts. We hope they will find an end to their fears and the beginning of their mutual co-existence based on a just peace. And so we look forward to the end of the occupation and the end of the international boycott.”
 
“In the face of the armed oppression of poor people and the increasing encroachment of the illegal settlements in the West Bank, we cannot do nothing,” the minute continued.
 
“We are clear then that it would be wrong to support the illegal settlements by purchasing their goods. We therefore ask Friends (Quakers) throughout Britain Yearly Meeting to boycott settlement goods, until such time as the occupation is ended.”
 
Quakers consider that this boycott builds on their other nonviolent moves for peace in the region. Since 2002 Quakers in Britain have trained human rights observers for the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI). The observers, called ecumenical accompaniers, work with Palestinians and Israelis to promote nonviolence by their protective presence, to monitor human rights abuses and to advocate for an end to the Israeli occupation.


They say: "We pray fervently for both Israelis and Palestinians, keeping them together in our hearts. We hope they will find an end to their fears and the beginning of their mutual co-existence based on a just peace. And so we look forward to the end of the occupation and the end of the international boycott. We envisage our future relationship with both peoples as one of loving and generous co-operation.
 
"Although we unite in this decision we recognise that Friends have different views, and we must treat one another tenderly."
 
The World Council of Churches set up a programme called the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI) in response to a call for international help from church leaders in Jerusalem. The aim of this programme is to end the Israeli occupation and bring a just peace based on international law. Since 2002, on behalf of British and Irish churches and church organisations, Quakers in Britain have trained more than one hundred human rights observers for the EAPPI.

Read more on EAPPI at www.quaker.org.uk/eappi

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Tags: , boycott, EAPPI, Israel, Quakers, settlemente


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