Fifteen new volunteers joined the current six-member team to the Ecumenical Accompaniment Program in Palestine and Israel, bringing the total number of “Ecumenical Accompaniers (EA)” on the ground to 21.
The EAs work with Palestinians and Israelis who seek an end to the occupation through peaceful and just means. Partnering with local churches, Palestinian and Israel NGOs and Palestine communities across the nation, the EAs will try to reduce the brutality of the occupation and improve the daily lives of both peoples.
The members from the new group will be dispatched to various sites: Three will continue the work in Sawahreh – a village split between East Jerusalem and the West Bank and threatened by the continued construction of Israel’s “separation fence.” Two will work with the Christian community and refugee camps in Ramallah. One has been assigned to the "Israel Team", which partners with Israeli peace and justice organizations. Two accompaniers will be working in Hebron, accompanying children going to school and monitoring the human rights situation. Two will be living in the West Bank village of Yanoun. Two have been assigned to work on media projects with Palestinian partner organizations.
The new group of EAs comes from six countries, including one from New Zealand – the first volunteer from that nation. Other nations represented include Germany, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the United States. The 10 women and five men range in age from 25 to 66 years.
Since its inception in August 2002, 95 EAs from more than 30 churches and ecumenical partners in nine countries participated in the EAPPI. Countries represented to date are Canada, Denmark, Germany, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States.