EAPPI - What is an Ecumenical Accompanier?
Ecumenical Accompaniers (EAs) work in small international teams placed in a variety of locations and are linked to local Palestinian and Israeli communities and/or organisations.
The role of participants in the programme includes:
- Monitoring and reporting violations of human rights and international humanitarian law
- EAs monitor restrictions of movement at checkpoints in Bethlehem and Jerusalem to produce daily statistics for UN agencies.
- Supporting acts of nonviolent resistance alongside local Palestinian and Israeli activists.
- Irrespective of where they are located most EAs accompany Israeli peace organisations at some time during their service. Since 2003, EAs have responded to numerous calls by Israeli peace groups to accompany them in Palestinian harvesting in the West Bank, observing checkpoints, the rebuilding of demolished Palestinian houses, peace vigils and demonstrations and to attend the trials of Israeli conscientious objectors in solidarity with them.
- EAPPI teams have also linked up with local Christians in Bethlehem and Jerusalem as well as Nablus and Ramallah. They have visited churches, homes and local organisations and have written several published articles about the difficulties experienced by the Palestinian Christian community.
Offering protection through nonviolent presence
- In Yanoun, a very small Palestinian village in the West Bank, EAs have been providing a protective presence since 2003 to villagers who have been experiencing severe intimidation and attacks by extreme right-wing Israeli settlers from the nearby settlement Itamar.
- In Hebron, EAs have been escorting Palestinian school girls of the Cordoba School since 2004. The school lies between two Israeli settlements which have been established in the heart of this Palestinian city and the girls often suffer threats and attacks by extremist settlers on their way to and from school.
- In Jayyous, a village in the West Bank where the separation barrier has cut off the best agricultural land and most of the wells from the village, EAs have stood at the barrier's gates to monitor if Jayyous farmers can get to their fields.
- In South Hebron Hills EAs have started to support local people whose homes are demolished and are evicted due to the establishment of a firing zone for Israeli military training.
Engaging in public policy advocacy
- While they are in the field EAs write about their experiences in reports or articles or blogs for publication.
- They also give media interviews and take photos and videos and produce podcasts.
- When they return home EAs carry out public speaking engagements.
- EAs take their experiences and stories to meetings with their elected representatives, including MPs, TDs and other national leaders and government officials, as well as MEPs and EU officials, intending to influence their policies on this issue.
- They meet with bishops and church including other faith leaders to encourage them to use their influence on the issue.