As in many parts of the world, AFSC began working in the Middle East in the wake of war and has stayed to help build justice and peace. Throughout our history, AFSC has coordinated humanitarian relief and other assistance to communities impacted by war in Jordan, Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon, and, more recently, Syria. 

Since 1948, AFSC has worked with Palestinians, Israelis, and the international community to realize a just and lasting peace between Palestinians and Israelis. Today, AFSC advocates for an end to the Israeli occupation, equality for all, and justice for past wrongs. Through our Palestinian Youth Together for Change program, we bring together young Palestinians from the West Bank, Israel, and Gaza to counter Palestinian fragmentation and support their nonviolent change initiatives. In Israel, AFSC supports groups challenging militarism and violence. And in the U.S., AFSC educates the public about Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory and works to change government policies and corporate and institutional practices that support the occupation.

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  • Two women sitting on the ground, playing with two children.
    Launching kindergartens became one of our major goals in refugee camps in the Gaza Strip from 1970-94. Today, independent Palestinian Early Childhood Education Programs benefit 2,500 children annually.
  • Women sew using sewing machines.
    Our Gaza Shirt Factory opened in 1986 to employ refugees and generate funds for the kindergarten programs.
  • Two young men work on small construction projects in a classroom, overseen by an older man.
    Reconstruction in Lebanon in 1984 required not only building, but training the next generation of builders, with support from AFSC.
  • Young women sit together in lines, facing forward, one woman with a pen pressed up to her lip.
    After the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan, about 350 schoolgirls met in their headmistress' house and in tents, before moving to 10 real classrooms funded by AFSC.
  • Three women stand together in the doorway of a brick building.
    Mary Trotochaud (center) and Rick McDowell represented AFSC on the ground in Iraq from 2003-05. They partnered with organizations striving to restore dignity and security for Iraqis.
  • Young man stands next to an older man and holds up his right pantsleg, showing a prosthetic leg.
    The military doctrine of “shock and awe” created many thousands of amputees—on all sides of the conflict. This Iraqi father and son found hope for the future in an AFSC-supported prosthetic clinic.
  • Girl in a dress stands holding a pair of sneakers.
    New sneakers provide some sense of normalcy in the chaotic aftermath of war. We partnered with many organizations bringing supplies to children left homeless by the invasion of Iraq.
  • Group of boys in a circle, hands in the middle over a drawing.
    Young Palestinians learn about civic engagement as part of AFSC’s Palestine Youth Program which helped over 1,500 Palestinian young adults take action to bring changes in their communities to better their lives.
  • Six young adults sit in chairs and hold their hands up to their heads, forming a rectangle with their fingers.
    During an “Alternative Spring Break” in 2013, AFSC offered Earlham College students information about Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) and strategies for video storytelling.
  • Four young people engage in animated conversation while seated at a table.
    In Palestine, we foster skills among youth so that they can step forward as leaders for nonviolent change. The “Youth of the Mutaharkeen” (Movers) advocate for their right to move freely throughout Palestine.
  • Young man sits cross legged on stairs leading up to a set of archways with the golden dome of a building in the background.
    Naji, a 25-year-old Gazan, gained access to Jerusalem for the first time ever, due to his participation in AFSC’s “Movers” program. He was able to pray at the Al Aqsa Mosque and dream of a life without barricades.