Frequently asked questions
What is the EAPPI?
The Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI) is an initiative of the World Council of Churches under the Ecumenical Campaign to End the Illegal Occupation of Palestine: Support a Just Peace in the Middle East. Its mission is to accompany Palestinians and Israelis in their non-violent actions and concerted advocacy efforts to end the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian Territories, and to bring about a just and durable solution to the conflict, with two viable and secure nations living side by side in peace.
What are the objectives of the programme?
The programme seeks to support local and international efforts to end the Israeli occupation and bring a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with a just peace, based on international law and relevant United Nations resolutions.
More specifically, the programme aims to:
- Participate in the daily life and work of Palestinian and Israeli civil society, Churches and Christian communities.
- Be visibly present in vulnerable communities, locations or events, e.g. near Israeli settlements and the wall/fence, schools and homes, fields & orchards.
- Actively listen to local people’s experiences and give voice to peoples’ daily suffering under occupation and write or speak about these experiences in their reports and public speaking engagements.
- Monitor the conduct of Israeli soldiers (e.g. at checkpoints and other barriers and during demonstrations and other military actions) and contact relevant organizations and authorities to request intervention.
- Engage in non-violent ways with perpetrators of human rights abuses.
- Produce high quality, first-hand written materials, testimonies and analysis.
- Report on violations of human rights and international humanitarian law that EAs witness and document and use these reports to inform governments and intergovernmental bodies and press them to take action.
- Engage with the media locally, nationally and internationally.
- Be part of international advocacy and networking activities that highlight the human rights situation in Palestine.
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 campaigning for a just peace based on international law, benefiting both Israelis and Palestinians.
For more information about the training and recruitment process in each country, please contact the relevant national coordinator.
Does EAPPI work on all human rights issues in Israel and Palestine?
As rational, sensible and compassionate human beings, 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”. However from its inception, EAPPI had a specific, albeit enormous mandate: to provide protective presence to vulnerable communities, monitor and report human rights abuses and support Palestinians and Israelis working together for peace. We believe that the occupation is harmful to Israelis as well as Palestinians.
How old should accompaniers be?
We have had accompaniers aged 23 to 78 years old. Applicants must be able to demonstrate maturity and commitment.
What is the time commitment?
The time commitment is three months. Under certain circumstances accompaniers can commit to longer periods, There is also training beforehand and you must commit to doing extensive advocacy on return to your home country.
Are there other options?
Short term high level delegations are welcome to the program with adequate prior notice.
What are the requirements to be an accompanier?
- Good mental and physical health
- Committed to living and working co-operatively and contributing positively to a team based approach to decision making
- Mature, psychologically stable, flexible and able to cope with stressful/critical situations and changing circumstances. Ability to engage constructively with people in authority and stay calm when provoked
- Ability to cope with modest living conditions
- Committed to participate in the programme for a minimum of three months in Israel/Palestine
- Acceptance/endorsement of application by the family/spouse
- Experience in human rights and advocacy work and/or development work an asset.
- Experience in or willingness to work in a different cultural context
- Knowledge of and interest in the Middle East region and the Israeli/Palestinian conflict and sensitivity to its cultures
- Good oral communication skills in English (Arabic and/or Hebrew an asset)
- Good written reporting skills in mother tongue, reporting skills in English an asset
- Committed to continue advocacy work upon return to home country including participation in public speaking and other follow-up work set up by the sending organizations or EA individually
- Involved with church/ecumenical/inter-religious and peace networks in own country
- Shares the principle of peace, non-violence and reconciliation as a way of life
- Respects the Christian and ecumenical character of the programme
- Willingness to participate respectfully in ecumenical/denominational prayer life
- Ability to develop relationships with both Palestinians and Israelis
- Computer literacy and familiarity with email, mobile phones and digital cameras.
What is the selection and recruitment procedure?
The selection and recruitment are done by the sending organization and its partners in the home country of the applicant, according to the requirements (question 6) and the needs in the field.
What do Ecumenical Accompaniers (EAs) do?
EAs work in small multinational teams placed in a variety of locations and are linked to local Palestinian and Israeli communities and/or organizations.
The purpose of the EAs is to provide presence, accountability and protection for the local organizations or communities to which they are linked.
The tasks in which the EAs are engaged include:
- Accompanying farmers cut off from regular access to their fields by the “separation wall” being erected by the Israeli authorities,
- Accompanying health teams crossing military checkpoints as well as ambulances in their emergency rounds in West Bank clinics,
- Providing support to local churches and church related organizations,
- Assisting Israeli, Palestinian and international human rights, peace, information and ecumenical non-governmental organizations with fieldwork, research, documentation and reporting,
- Taking part in peaceful joint Palestinian/Israeli demonstrations,
- Working with the Christian congregations in Jerusalem, visiting church schools and homes, and accompanying church leaders and members,
- Monitoring areas where there has been curfew or settler violence, to ensure that children safely travel to and from school,
- Engaging in advocacy efforts to end the occupation and support a just peace,
- Sharing experience and knowledge of the situation on the ground with media and churches in their home country.
How can we identify the EAs?
The accompaniers wear recognizable vests with the WCC and EAPPI logos.
How much does it cost?
Please contact the national coordinator of your country for further information about costs.
What kind of insurance is the EA supposed to have?
EAs must have insurance for medical care, accidents and sickness, in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories. In some cases this is provided by the sending organization. In others, the individual EAs must provide their own.
How do I apply?
Please click here for more information on how to apply. All applications should be sent to the National Coordinator in the country of the applicant and not to the World Council of Churches.
What orientation and training is an EA given?
EAs receive an orientation in their home country and are then provided with a training of about 10 days in Jerusalem prior to their placement.
The Jerusalem training sessions include:
- Introduction to WCC, its policies on Israel/Palestine, EAPPI and the Campaign,
- Basic International, Humanitarian and Human Rights Law, introduction to the present humanitarian situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory
- Review and role play situations that EA may encounter in Palestine-Israel, for non-violent practice and response,
- Review of risks involved, coping with fear and trauma,
- Introduction to churches and religious community in Jerusalem,
- Liaison with relevant embassies/representative’s offices of the respective home country,
- Familiarity with Jerusalem environment, Old City, local transport system, checkpoints,
- Security & evacuation measures – what can we do in order to minimize the obviously high risks involved in living, traveling and working in Israel-Palestine,
- Team building, team dynamics, decision making and support
- Intercultural communication, cultural norms, gender relations in Israel/Palestine,
- Introduction to the Arabic and Hebrew Language
- Communication/reporting requirements of WCC and sending organization, and training for reporting.
What type of debriefing is an EA given at the end of his/her service?
In Jerusalem the EAs participate in a two day debriefing including group discussion, evaluation of the programme, story-telling and preparation for cultural re-entry as well as tips for public speaking and airport security.
The home country debriefing includes an evaluation of the programme, as well as advice concerning advocacy, reporting and networking. Psychological evaluation and counseling is provided by some sending organizations and is available if needed for the others.
What kind of commitment is expected beyond the 3 months stay in Israel/Palestine?
Advocacy and awareness building work of EAs following their stay in the field is an important part of the programme.Sending organizations have different expectations for the number of articles being produced during the stay as well as public speaking engagements upon return. Volunteers with specific skills like video filming or photographing might want to produce exhibitions or documentaries in cooperation with their national coordination.