The Ramallah Friends School is a 150-year-old Quaker school located in Palestine. It is not simply a school but an institution woven into the history of Palestine.
Throughout its long history, the school has also doubled as a medical facility and shelter for refugees, as well as a hub for lectures, community events, concerts, and much more.
As the crisis in Israel and Palestine deepens, the students at RFS sent the following letter to members of Congress. In it, they urge lawmakers to prioritize a ceasefire, protect the lives of innocent children, and secure humanitarian aid. They ask: “why [are] our voices not heard and why [do] humanitarian laws apply to some children but not to us?”
Below is the full text of their letter:
Dear Members of Congress,
As students of Ramallah Friends School, we urgently reach out to you with heavy hearts [about] the devastating events unfolding, particularly in Gaza, where civilians and children bear the most profound impact of catastrophic genocide. The recent escalation of violence in the West Bank further intensifies our vulnerability as children.
The recent escalation of violence in the West Bank further intensifies our vulnerability as children.
We write to you as the voices of the next generation, as innocent souls caught up in this turmoil, in the hope that you read our letter and consider it in a serious matter. Just two weeks ago, near our school, a 14-year-old child was shot when the Israeli army entered the city, heightening our fear during these unexpected distressing incidents. Many of us also struggle with the challenges of traveling to school due to blockades in our areas, coupled with the constant fear of settler attacks along the routes we must navigate.
The genocide in Gaza has claimed the lives of over 11,000, including almost 5,000 children. Additionally, around 625,000 students, our peers, have been deprived of education, essential needs, and the necessities of life, water, and food.
Children in Gaza endure not only the absence of educational opportunities but also the harsh reality of living without access to vital resources. The fear they carry is profound, fearing for their lives and the potential loss of their parents, leaving them alone and in danger.
We question why our voices are not heard and why humanitarian laws apply to some children but not to us.
With a profound sense of urgency, we implore you to prioritize a cease-fire, protecting innocent children’s lives and securing their access to water, food, and education. We question why our voices are not heard and why humanitarian laws apply to some children but not to us. Isn’t childhood a term for all or are we not children? Is it justifiable for us to endure life under occupation, live in constant fear, and be haunted by the unsettling presence of settlers in our dreams?
In alignment with the foundation principles of our Quaker school, rooted in values of peace, equality, and justice, we earnestly appeal for your support in addressing these critical issues. We turn to you, members of Congress, seeking a deeper understanding and meaningful action on these matters that weigh heavily on our young hearts and minds.
The Students of Ramallah Friends School