Monday, July 02, 2007

American Friends Service Committee youth worker wounded at peaceful protest in Gaza

American Friends Service Committe is the service arm of the Quakers. One of their youth workers, Ibrahim Shatali, was wounded at a peaceful protest. Prayers for his safe recovery. And for peace between Hamas and Fatah, Palestine and Israel.

Philadelphia [June 15] —The American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) expresses profound sadness that Ibrahim Shatali, program coordinator for the American Friends Service Committee Quaker Palestine Youth Program, was shot on Wednesday, June 13, in Gaza City during a peaceful demonstration calling for an end to violence between Hamas and Fatah supporters.

Ibrahim suffered a chest injury and underwent a three-hour surgery in Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City. He is in stable condition following surgery and the Service Committee is relieved he is making progress toward recovery.

Ibrahim was among hundreds of Palestinian peace activists who joined peaceful demonstrations in three cities on the Gaza Strip. Tragically, marchers in Gaza City and Rafah were met with gunfire that resulted in the death of one participant and the wounding of 15 others.

Since its establishment in 1996, the Quaker Palestine Youth Program has worked closely with local and international organizations in the West Bank and Gaza Strip to enhance opportunities for marginalized Palestinian youth. The program is managed through AFSC’s offices in Ramallah and Gaza with support from the Middle East Regional Office in Amman, Jordan.

The Quaker Palestine Youth Program helps youths become active citizens by enhancing the skills they need to contribute to civil society and to preserve their communities. Ibrahim joined the program as a student coach. His determination, hard work and enthusiasm for the program led to a staff position in 2004.

More than 2,200 young men and women have been involved with the program over the past four years. Previous projects include: establishing science labs and computer centers, developing youth-focused web-sites, founding libraries, campaigning against early marriage, and cultural preservation and education.

Backed by a 90-year history working for peace, justice and reconciliation in troubled areas of the world, the American Friends Service Committee is a faith-based organization grounded in Quaker beliefs respecting the dignity and worth of every person. Quaker work in the Middle East dates back to 1875, with the establishment of a Friends school in Lebanon. AFSC work in Israel and the Palestinian Territories began providing relief assistance on behalf of the United Nations to more than 200,000 Palestinian refugees entering the Gaza Strip during and after the 1948 Arab-Israeli war and has continued to the present.

AFSC asks all concerned to continue to hold Ibrahim and the people of Gaza in the Light.

More information on the Quaker Palestine Youth Program can be found here.

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