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activism to support nonviolence, challenge oppression

Because of AFSC’s experience helping to resettle hundreds of thousands of refugees and displaced persons following World War II, during the fall of 1948 the United Nations asked AFSC to organize relief efforts for refugees displaced by the 1948 War. AFSC accepted this request while putting forward a number of conditions including a demand that AFSC be allowed to provide relief wherever it was most needed. The U.N. as well as the Egyptian and Israeli authorities accepted AFSC’s terms. However, as a result of the quick advance of Israeli forces, AFSC’s field of operation was eventually limited to Gaza.[2]

AFSC staff arrived in Gaza in December 1948 and began coordinating relief and assistance efforts in January 1949. AFSC assistance included the setting up of camp structures, the establishment of health clinics, feeding operations, running schools, setting up other service structures, and the registration of refugees.  This work continued until May 1, 1950 when the United Nations Relief and Works Agency began its operations. 

Following the 1967 war, AFSC reestablished a presence in the occupied Palestinian territory, opening a child education program in Gaza and a legal aid center in Jerusalem for Palestinians living under Israeli occupation. These programs continue as independent NGOs under Palestinian leadership. AFSC subsequently developed new programs in both Gaza and the West Bank and our work continues today in both areas through our offices and staff in Jerusalem and Gaza.

 Regarding Right of Return, most recently AFSC has organized with Zochrot a conference on the Practicalities of Refugee Return held in Tel Aviv.