Israel / Palestine

Connecting with the Enemy

Connecting with the Enemy by Sheila Katz.

For those interested in Sheila Katz’s groundbreaking work about efforts to build a just peace in Palestine-Israel by Israeli and Palestinian groups working nonviolently together, Skip Schiel recommends her new book, Connecting with the Enemy: a Century of Palestinian-Israeli Joint Nonviolence.

Sheila H. Katz is author of Connecting with the Enemy: A Century of Palestinian-Israeli Joint Nonviolence (University of Texas Press, 2016), the first comprehensive history of grassroots efforts to forge nonviolent alternatives to the lethal collision of these two national movements. Her first book, Women and Gender in Early Palestinian and Jewish Nationalism (University Press of Florida, 2003), investigates the origins of this conflict through the transformation of gender and national identities during the first half of the 20th century. Before coming to Berklee, she taught at Harvard for eight years where she organized programs on Middle Eastern women. She has published numerous articles and reviews in places such as Kandiyoti’s, Gendering the Middle East, the Arab Studies Journal, the International Journal of Middle East Studies, and Lilith Magazine, among others, and has encountered diversity, beauty, and hardship through extensive travels to countries such as Ethiopia, Australia, Japan, Egypt, and Peru, to name just a few.

Katz holds a Bachelor of Arts from Brandeis University in fine arts (studio and history) and both a master’s degree and a doctorate from Harvard University in Middle East studies. She lived in Jerusalem for six years to found a network that brought Palestinians and Israelis together for the first time.

“This is a profoundly important study of the history and ongoing efforts for Israeli- Palestinian peace by ordinary Israelis and Palestinians. It is by far the most comprehensive history of this aspect of the conflict I have ever read. It offers a genuinely balanced perspective.”

-Stephen Zunes, University of San Francisco,
coeditor of Nonviolent Social Movements: A Geographical Perspective


Her website:


Minute on Israel/Palestine


At the 2017 annual sessions of New England Yearly Meeting the Minute on Israel / Palestine drafted by Friends Meeting at Cambridge and edited by Salem Quarterly Meeting was presented and approved, as recorded in their minutes:

2017-45 Skip Schiel, Ian Harrington, Jonathan Vogel-Borne, and Minga Claggett-Borne (all of Cambridge) presented a minute from Salem Quarterly Meeting on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. Based on this minute, Friends approved the following:

2017-46 Friends gathered at New England Yearly Meeting Annual Sessions at Castleton, Vermont, August 6-10, 2017, attest to the following:

The Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) testimony on peace, justice, and nonviolence is based in our experience of the divine in all of creation and within all persons. Thus, we are deeply troubled by the suffering and injustice caused by the Israeli/Palestinian conflict and we are concerned that our government perpetuates that violence by continuing to send billions of dollars of military aid to the region.
We call upon our nation to:

  • Cease sending United States military aid and selling weapons to the entire Middle East.
  • Continue diplomatic efforts with all parties and remain in dialogue even with those who have acted violently.
  • Join the international court system and accept its jurisdiction.

We call upon all nations to:

  • Work with the United Nations Security Council to end military aid and arms sales from all outside countries to all parties in this conflict.
  • Support the United Nations efforts to bring justice, peace, security, and reconciliation to all parties in the conflict.
  • Take measures to assure that international laws are applied universally.

We call upon all individuals and communities to:

  • Support and learn from the many organizations that bring Israelis and Palestinians together for justice and peacemaking.
  • Examine how anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, racism, and privilege affect our understanding of the conflict

We are deeply grateful to the Friends who have worked over many months in preparing and seasoning this minute.
We ask Friends to report back on what insights and conclusions they have in addressing this conflict.



A view of East Jerusalem from the Temple Mount.
(Photo: Jonathan Vogel-Borne)

After a year-long series of threshing meetings, in early 2016 meeting for worship for business approved one of two proposed minutes concerning FMC’s response to the conflict in Palestine-Israel. The first, Minute One (or “Friends Meeting at Cambridge (Quaker) Statement on US Role in Israel/Palestine”)–principal author, Skip Schiel–has been approved. Minute Two (or “Some Thoughts about Peacemaking, Palestine, and Israel From Friends Meeting at Cambridge (Quakers)”)–principal author, Cliff Harrison–is about Quaker peace making generally and has not yet been approved.

We are seeking our unique response, as Quakers and as a whole Meeting, to the conflict. The issue was forwarded to the Meeting by the Peace & Social Concerns Committee. A threshing session is a formal meeting for worship for business where no decision is expected. It is a time to listen deeply to one another and to the Spirit for guidance on a specific and challenging issue.


Skip Schiel

In 2015 Skip made a three-month photographic journey to Palestine and Israel. His many photos, writings, and workshops are available on his homepage Teeksa Photography as well as the film and book “Eyewitness Gaza.”

    • Links to other information compiled by the Israel-Palestine Working Group of New England Yearly Meeting
    Skip Schiel

    Skip Schiel, Gaza, 2009
    (Photo: Ban Al-Ghussan)