The Religious Society of Friends played a prescient role in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from its very first years—albeit behind the scenes. The author of this book first became aware of Quaker interest in the conflict when she came across a book entitled Search for Peace in the Middle East. Members of the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), a service organization founded by Quakers, had written it, and it had been translated into many languages and widely read. Many observers have hoped that NGOs such as the AFSC may offer new approaches to longstanding conflicts and that the high ideals and dedication of humanitarian and human rights activists, operating at grassroots levels, may find a way around the inflexibility of entrenched elites and narrowly nationalistic leaders. The nonviolent approach to peace making is also controversial. Quakers believe that violence almost never brings a permanent solution to a conflict.
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