The Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel, a peace-making initiative spearheaded by the World Council of Church, welcomed a group of 20 new international volunteers this April.
The new team of accompaniers comes from across six countries including Canada, Germany, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland. The first French volunteer has also joined the team. This group of 14 women and 6 men will join the six accompaniers staying on from the previous group.
According to the EAPPI website, this team of accompaniers will settle across several cities in the Palestine-Israeli area.
“Four accompaniers will continue the work in Sawahreh, and three others will be in Jayyous. Both villages are dealing with the effects of Israel's "separation barrier,”” the EAPPI wrote.
”Four will be working with the Christian community and refugee camps in Ramallah. Three have been assigned to the "Israel Team," which cooperates with Israeli peace and justice organizations.
”Three accompaniers will be working in Hebron, accompanying children going to school and monitoring the human rights situation. Three will be living in the West Bank village of Yanoun.
”One accompanier with a medical background will be working with the Union of Palestinian Medical Relief Committees (UPMRC),” the EAPPI released.
EAPPI coordinator Salpy Eskidjian said, “In the wake of Israel’s decision, supported by the United States, to take ‘unilateral measures’ rather than enter into dialogue with Palestinian representatives, EAPPI continues to work with Palestinians and Israelis who are seeking an end to the occupation through nonviolent means and a just solution to the long conflict.”
The EAPPI was launched in August of 2002, to monitor and report the violations of human rights and to bring a peaceful resistance to violence in the volatile region. Since its inception, 115 accompaniers who serve at minimum 3 months have joined the effort. These volunteers came from more than 30 churches and ecumenical partners in 10 countries.