More Minutes relating to our Peace testimony
- July 2006: STATEMENT OF THE ATLANTA FRIENDS MEETING ON
THE MIDDLE EAST CRISIS
From its earliest inception, the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) has placed rejection of war as basic to our understanding of God's will. We believe that human beings are capable of solving conflicts through reason, an empathetic understanding of the other's point of view, and the courage to take principled, nonviolent action in the face of injustice.
In this spirit, the Atlanta Friends Meeting urges all parties in the current conflict between Hezbollah and Israel and the fighting in the Gaza Strip to declare a ceasefire and work toward a negotiated settlement of their grievances. As Quakers who are also U.S. citizens, we strongly object to the fact that tax-payer funded U.S. military equipment is being used illegally in this conflict. We are very concerned that Israel is using weapons supplied by the United States to target Palestiniean & Lebanese civilians and civilian infrastructure in the Gaza Strip and Lebanon in violation of the US Arms Export Control Act and the Geneva Conventions.
The Israeli air force fighter squadrons are composed of Lockheed Martin F-16I Fighting Falcolns and Boeing F15Is, which fire US-manufactured AMRAAM, SIdewinder, and Sparrow missiles. From 2000-2005, the United States licensed to Israel at least $1.062 billion of spare parts, engines, and missiles for its F-15 and F-16 fighter planes.
From 2000-2005, the United States licensed to the Israeli navy more than $572 million worth of patrol boat, ship, and submarine components and spare parts, torpedoes, and sonar equipment.
From 2000-2005, the United States licensed to Israel more than $348 million worth of tanks, components, and spare parts.
(Statistics for US weapons licensed to Israel are compiled from the State Department's annual report to Congress pursuant to Sec. 655 of the Foreign Assistance Act.)
By using US-supplied weapons to attack Gaza and Lebanon, Israel is violating the terms of the US Arms Export Control Act and Foreign Assistance Act. The Arms Export Control Act restricts the use of US weapons to legitimate self-defense and internal policing; US weapons cannot be used to attack civilians in offensive operations. The Foreign Assistance Act prohibits US aid of any kind to a country that routinely kills civilians as a result of its military operations.
The Atlanta Friends Meeting urges the President and Congress to act immediately to halt Israel's military attacks in teh Middle East that are being conducted with U.S.-supplied weapons in violation of our laws. We urge the President and Congress to stop all foreign assistance and military equipment exports to Israel until it ceases military attacks outside of its internationally recognized borders.
- July 2006: The Atlanta Friends Meeting supports Lt.
Ehren Watada in his decision not to deploy to Iraq because of his
strong conviction that this war is both illegal and immoral.
As Quakers we oppose war in any form. It is our firm belief that war is not the answer to conflict. We support hose who use non-violent means to challenge unjust laws and policies.
Lt. Watada's act of conscience is a courageous act of refusing to participate in a war that he believes to be contrary to God's will. We support his refusal completely.
- June 2005: Atlanta Friends Meeting endorses the Friends Committee on National Legislation's (FCNL's) Sensible Transition to an Enduring Peace resolution and calls upon the United States Congress to adopt a sense of the Congress resolution declaring: "It is the policy of the United States to withdraw all U.S. military troops and bases from Iraq." Atlanta Friends Meeting also calls upon the government to affirm that it will continue to advocate for the protection of human rights within Iraq, including the rights of Iraqi women and girls, without militarily occupying Iraq. The Meeting asks the Clerk of the Meeting to communicate this message to our congressional representatives and the local media.
- September 2004: Atlanta Friends Meeting approves becoming a member of the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation.
- January 2003: The committee recommended that meeting for
business support the Urgent Call for nuclear disarmament. We move
together with the other nuclear powers, step by carefully inspected and
verified step, to the abolition of weapons. As steps toward this goal,
we call on the United States to:
A. Renounce the first use of nuclear weapons.
B. Permanently end the development, testing, and production of nuclear warheads.
C. Seek agreement with Russia on the mutual and verified destruction of nuclear weapons withdrawn under treaties, and increase the resources available here and in the former Soviet Union to secure nuclear warheads and material and implement destruction.
D. Strengthen nonproliferation efforts by ratifying the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, finalizing a missile ban in North Korea, supporting UN inspections in Iraq, locating and reducing fissile material worldwide and negotiating a ban on its production.
E. Take nuclear weapons off hair-trigger alert in concert with the other nuclear powers--the UK, France, Russia, China, India, Pakistan and Israel„in order to reduce the risk of accidental or unauthorized use.
F. Initiate talks on further nuclear cuts, beginning with U.S. and Russian reductions to 1,000 warheads each.
- October 1998: The AFM declared itself a Sanctuary for
refugees from Central America in 1985. Since then we have heard the
first hand testimony of many friends from El Salvador and Guatemala as
to their personal experience of torture, disappearances, assassinations
and targeting of civilian populations by the military or military
related groups in these countries. Over the last few years we have
become aware that a significant number of the high military officers in
the armies of El Salvador and Guatemala received training at the U.S.
Army School of the Americas in Fort Benning, Georgia. We are aware that
of those officers implicated in official human rights commission
reports as responsible for gross human rights violations most received
training at the School and that the School acknowledges use of manuals
which included sections on torture, execution, and paying bounties for
the assassination of community leaders. We understand that top military
officials involved in the current counterinsurgency wars in Chiapas,
Mexico and in Columbia are also graduates of the School.
The ongoing history of and rationale for the School of the Americas run counter to the peace testimony of Quakers. Friends affirm that the best way to relate to people is to appeal to that of God within them. Trusting in the leading of the Spirit and respecting the Inward Light in all others can avert violent conflict. We see the School as an egregious example of a false belief that Latin and Central American militaries have or will serve as agents to reduce or avert violent conflict. We, therefore, call upon the United States Congress and the Executive branch to eliminate funding for the School of the Americas, to rescind the recent approval of the sale of weapons to Latin America, and to review thoroughly all other bilateral military training.
- April 1998: We wish to express our pleasure at the peace agreement signed among parties in Northern Ireland at Stormont on April 10th. We understand the long history of suspicion and anger that has caused these troubles for so long and wish that GodÍs love and understanding can work through all of this for a peaceful and prosperous land. Our hopes, prayers, and love are with our friends in Ireland.
- October 1997: The Atlanta Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) urges President Clinton to sign and the Senate to ratify the global Treaty to Ban Landmines. God calls us to live in ways that take away the occasion for war. We hope this treaty can be one small step towards a world where differences between nations are settled without injuries, death and destruction. The United StatesÍ joining the nations that are party to this treaty would make that more likely.
- September 1990: The Atlanta Friends Meeting of the
Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) affirms that the principle of
speaking to that of God in all persons will allow them--and us--to find
nonviolent solutions to the present situation and to ongoing problems
in the Middle East.
We are concerned for the safety and well-being of all people in the Middle East„individuals of many faiths and nationalities, civilian and military, children and adults. We are especially concerned about the well-being of the people residing in Iraq and Kuwait, if they are prevented from receiving food and medical supplies, and we urge that these materials be made freely available.
We are opposed to the armed aggression by Iraq against Kuwait, a peaceful neighbor, and we are encouraged by the breadth of the international response to this aggression. We encourage Friends to support the continuation of these efforts.
The escalation of belligerence and aggression on the part of the leaders of the United States and Iraq does not lead to an understanding of the truth. The rapid and massive build-up of U.S. military forces is a destabilizing factor rather than an agent of peaceful resolution.
We support a negotiated settlement and the nonmilitary peace-keeping activities sponsored by the United Nations as the proper response to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. We believe that the nations of the Middle East must settle their differences in a peaceful manner, and that the United Nations should support the Middle Eastern nations in this effort.
We acknowledge our complicity in a national lifestyle built on greed and the over-consumption of finite resources such as oil. We are mindful that John Woolman cautioned us, long ago, to "Look upon our treasures...and try whether the seeds of war have nourishment in these our possessions."
- September 1987: The Atlanta Meeting of the Religious
Society of Friends (Quakers) through its experience with refugees and
through members visiting and living in Guatemala, El Salvador,
Honduras, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica is deeply aware of the destruction
of human life and the social fabric and the suffering of the people of
these nations which result from the reliance on a military solution to
the social and economic problems of the Central American countries.
The Meeting supports the initiative of the Central American Presidents in their agreement to the peace plan signed in Guatemala to collectively seek an end to the military conflicts of the region. We are fully aware that the plan involves trust, risk, and compromises by each of the parties involved in the region but see the plan as the most concrete hope for a movement toward peace that the region has experienced in the last decade.
We call upon the President and Congress of the united States to listen to, value, and respect the independent leadership shown by the Central American Presidents. We ask that the United States fully support implementation and conditions of the plan by ending military and financial aid to the contras in Nicaragua, by refraining from economic and other pressures on governments of the region, and by supporting economic recovery of all the nations in the region. The human suffering we have seen and heard calls out for no less a response than this.
In our Meetings for Worship with Attention to Business, we often make public statements, called Minutes. Because we do all business by consensus, these Minutes represent the unanimous will of our entire community.