The Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI) is an international observer programme run by the World Council of Churches. We have just marked our 10th anniversary of supporting Israelis and Palestinians working for peace! Since the programme began in 2002, we have brought over 1000 volunteers from over 25 countries to Jerusalem and the West Bank. Our volunteers range in age from their early 20s until their 70s and are of many different backgrounds, but what they all share is a deep commitment to human rights!
“Ecumenical Accompaniers” or “EAs” walk Palestinian children to school in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, accompanying them on the often perilous journey past settlements. They also get up at 3am to monitor checkpoints, and file reports to the United Nations and other organisations on human rights violations such as house demolitions or settler violence. They also monitor demonstrations by Israeli and Palestinian peace groups, such as the Women in Black in Jerusalem and the weekly prayer vigil in Bethlehem at the Separation Wall. During their three-month terms, EAs are exposed to a variety of different points of view on the conflict – such as visiting an Israeli settlement to meet residents, and going to a town in southern Israel to hear about the effects of rocket fire from Gaza.
When they return home, EAs talk about their first-hand experiences of the human rights situation, and advocate for a just peace based on international law.