The accompaniers, from the World Council of Churches (WCC) Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel, continue to work remotely as they still accompany people struggling for human rights in the West Bank and Jerusalem.
“We need protection immediately”
On 20 November, settlers attacked Shiab Al Butum Basic Coeducation School which is home to 50 students—27 girls and 23 boys in grades one through nine. The settlers destroyed four water containers and three solar panels.
Nidal Younis, head of the Masafer Yatta Village Council, said: “I can recall no less than 22 attacks against Shiab Al Butum that include beatings, home demolition attempts, uprooting trees, and destruction of water wells and pumps.”
Younis went to say: “We need protection immediately. Our schools have been closed since 7 October due to fear and because travel is dangerous.”
One day after the Shiab Al Butum attack, on 21 November, settlers set three classrooms on fire at the Zanuta Basic Coeducational School.
Fayez Al-Till, head of the village council, said: “The community’s 250 Palestinians in 36 families have already left due to fear, and the school has been under repeated attacks since 2018. Help is needed immediately to renovate the three burnt classrooms and keep the school in place.”
“Help is needed”
In Jerusalem, Armenian Christians are calling for help to protect their land. On 5 November, 15 armed settlers entered land owned by the Armenian Patriarchate in Jerusalem’s Old City, and they asked the Armenian Christians to leave—but the Armenians refused.
On 15-16 November, 30 security guards from a private Israeli company, along with police and soldiers, entered the Armenian land, and asked everyone to leave. Using four bulldozers, they demolished a wall and excavated the land. The Armenians asked them for legal papers or court order, but they did not have any. Armenians are contesting the sale of their land to an Israeli company. Currently there is one Israeli guard stationed on approximately 40% of the land, while the Armenians are steadfast in the remaining plot.
According to Hagop Djernazian, community activist: “The land in question amounts to 20-25% of the Armenian neighborhood. It is part of Christian quarter Jerusalem where settlers are trying to take over property. Help is needed from world churches and governments to protect Christian presence in Jerusalem.”
The WCC executive committee, at its meeting in Nigeria, released a statement on the war in Palestine and Israel. The statement demands an immediate ceasefire and the opening of humanitarian corridors.