Forum: Living the Palestine Experience
Under military occupation in Palestine, in a majority Muslim area, an American Quaker school is thriving. How are Quaker values providing hope and building a foundation for a peaceful, just future? How does the Israeli-Palestinian conflict affect daily life in Israel and Palestine? What might the future hold for this troubled region?
Arthur Meyer Boyd and Margaret (Meg) Boyd Meyer spent six months in 2018-2019 at Ramallah Friends School (founded in 1869) as “Living Letters” under the auspices of Friends United Meeting, an international organization of Quakers. They also traveled in Israel seeking to gain perspective from both sides, and are now visiting churches and groups in the US to share their personal experiences.
Meg and Arthur are members of Stony Run Friends Meeting in Baltimore, Maryland. Now retired, they have both served in leadership capacities at their Quaker Meeting, and in Quaker and other nonprofit organizations in staff and volunteer positions. Arthur was Associate Executive Secretary of the Friends Committee on National Legislation for nearly 20 years.
Palestinian Christians by the Numbers
- About 65% of the students at the Ramallah Friends School are from Muslim families, 35% from Christian families.
- In 2009, there were an estimated 50,000 Christians in the Palestinian territories, mainly in the West Bank, with only about 3,000 in Gaza.
- According to World Population Review, the total population of the West Bank is more than 3.2 million. The Arab Palestinian population is more than 2.3 million.
- In 1946, before the state of Israel was established, the Christian population of Palestine was estimated to be 7.9%.
- Under military occupation, Palestinian Christians are subject to the same restrictions imposed on the Muslim population.
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