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EAPPI welcomes largest group of volunteers

17 November 2003

Cf. WCC Press Release pr-03-34 of 10 November 2003

Cf. WCC Press Update pu-03-35 of 12 September 2003

Contact in Jerusalem: +972 (0) 67 379 766,

With the arrival of 21 new ecumenical accompaniers, the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI) continues to grow. The previous team of accompaniers numbered 19, so this is the largest group since the programme began 15 months ago; the 21 new arrivals will complement 10 volunteers who are staying on for longer terms of service.

EAPPI works with Palestinians and Israelis who are seeking an end to the occupation through non-violent means, and a just solution to the long conflict. Ecumenical accompaniers work with local churches, Palestinian and Israeli NGOs, as well as Palestinian communities in various capacities to try to reduce the brutality of the occupation and improve the daily lives of both peoples.

The current team of accompaniers comes from six countries including, for the first time, a volunteer from New Zealand. Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States continue to be represented. The 14 women and seven men range in age from 24 to 72 years. The minimum term of service will be three months.

The current group will work in various sites. Eight accompaniers will go to the West Bank Palestinian villages of Jayyous and Yanoun, continuing the work of previous teams. Five have been assigned to the "Israel Team", a group formed in September to work with Israeli peace and justice organizations. Three accompaniers will be working with the Lutheran Church and school, and refugee camps in Ramallah. Four will be in a new placement in Sawahreh, a village split between East Jerusalem and the West Bank and threatened by the continued construction of Israel’s "separation fence" or wall. Two will be working in Hebron, accompanying children going to school and monitoring the human rights situation.

Since the programme was launched in August 2002, 80 ecumenical accompaniers have participated from more than 30 churches and ecumenical partners in nine countries: Canada, Denmark, Germany, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States.

For more information on the EAPPI:

The Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI) was launched in August 2002. Ecumenical accompaniers monitor and report violations of human rights and international humanitarian law, support acts of non-violent resistance alongside local Christian and Muslim Palestinians and Israeli peace activists, offer protection through non-violent presence, engage in public policy advocacy, and stand in solidarity with the churches and all those struggling against the occupation. The programme is co-ordinated by the World Council of Churches.