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Frequently Asked Questions

How does accompaniment work?

Research into accompaniment shows that armed civilian groups and the military are less likely to mistreat civilians if there are monitors present. EAs are therefore present to witness on the ground and attract the attention of the international community to take action to build a just peace.

Read about Our Model of Accompaniment.

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Why did you choose the name 'Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel'?

Read the full explanation HERE.

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Does EAPPI work on all human rights issues in Israel and Palestine?

Although we are concerned by all human rights, understood as “those rights that are considered universal to humanity, regardless of citizenship, residency status, ethnicity, gender, or other considerations," we are unable to cover all human rights issues in Israel and Palestine. EAPPI has a specific, albeit enormous mandate: to provide protective presence to vulnerable communities, to monitor and report human rights violations and to support Palestinian and Israeli civil society organizations devoted to nonviolence and working together for peace. We believe that the occupation is harmful to Israelis as well as Palestinians. We, therefore, focus our efforts on human rights violations that are results of the occupation, such as settler violence, displacement, land confiscation, military incursions, and access issues. We condemn violence and human rights violations on both sides, but we recognize that protective presence will not prevent certain types of violence, such as suicide bombings or rocket fire. As an international presence, we are unable to address human rights violations that occur as internal issues in either Israeli or Palestinian society.

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Why do EAs serve in the West Bank and East Jerusalem?

Following two unsuccessful attempts to have a UN peace keeping force in Israel and the oPt in 2002, civil society looked for other ways to assist civilians affected by the conflict. The Heads of the Churches in Jerusalem called for people to come and witness to the effects of the occupation on Palestinians. The World Council of Churches (WCC) responded to this call and formed the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel. Israel was included in the title because although at the time it could not be seen how accompaniment could assist Israeli citizens it was felt important to acknowledge that Israeli civilians also suffer. EAs serve in the oPt because they are invited to do this work. EAs have not been invited to serve in Israel but our links with courageous Israelis who work in peace and human rights groups in the oPt and Israel, are strong.

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Do EAs write and speak about their experiences?

EAPPI expects and trains EAs to write and relate the stories and incidents which they witness in Israel and the oPt with accuracy, impartiality and professionalism. Not only do EAs write eyewitness accounts while on the ground, upon returning home they are required to participate in speaking engagements and advocacy work related to their time in Palestine and Israel.

Read EA eyewitness accounts.

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How can we identify the EAs?

Our ecumenical accompaniers (EAs) wear recognizable vests with the EAPPI logo.

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Is EAPPI only for Christians?

No. EAs come from many faith backgrounds or none. In fact, we value inclusivity and the strength that comes through diversity. EAs may also have no religious affiliation. EAs are asked to accept the Christian nature of the programme and in particular to only volunteer if they are willing to participate in key programme activities that take place in a church context. The programme does not attempt to convert.

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Does EAPPI take sides in the Israeli/Palestinian conflict?

EAPPI does not discriminate in favour of any national group, religious or political perspective. EAPPI uses International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights law as its basis upon which to judge the actions and policies of those involved in the conflict and the positive or negative effects that these may have for building peace for all communities involved.

See our value of principled impartiality.

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What is EAPPI’s view of the State of Israel?

EAPPI acknowledges the existence of Israel as a state formed by the UN. Our criticisms are not of the State of Israel but of  government policies.  We do not consider that criticism of these policies delegitimizes Israel as a state. We recognise the right of Israel and the Palestinians to exist in peace and security, on the basis of International law and UN resolutions.

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How much experience do EAs get of the Israeli perspective?

EAs have the opportunity to engage with a wide range of different Israeli perspectives. They work with several respected Israeli NGOs and also accompany Israeli pro-peace demonstrators to show solidarity and monitor any incidents of violence against them.

Upon arrival in Jerusalem, EAs receive briefings from Israeli human rights groups and take an extended tour of the Holocaust Museum. During the mid-term training, they meet a settlers’ group and travel to Sderot to meet Israeli people affected by rockets fired from Gaza.

In addition, EAs are encouraged to travel widely within Israel on their days off and to consume Israeli as well as Palestinian media to get all sides of the story.

Training is also provided in the EAs’ home countries and candidates are selected on the basis of their commitment to principled impartiality and campaigning for a just peace based on international law, benefiting both Israelis and Palestinians.

In total, EAs spend between 6 and 18 days in Israeli depending on how they decide to spend their free time.

For more information about the training and recruitment process in each country, please contact the relevant national coordinator.

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What is the EAPPI view of Anti-Semitism?

EAPPI acknowledges the reality of anti-Semitism and considers it to be fundamentally unacceptable. Any form of discrimination is specifically forbidden in our code of conduct which states, “We view the treatment of people based on negative stereotypes and the abuse of power that this entails to be a human rights issue and in contravention of this Code of Conduct”. Any contravention of the code would be considered a disciplinary matter.

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