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The World Council of Churches’ Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (WCC-EAPPI) was created in 2002 by the World Council of Churches based on a letter and an appeal from local church leaders to create an international presence in the country.

Who we are

  • a continuous presence of 25-30 Ecumenical Accompaniers on the ground, serving for three months in accompanying, offering protective presence, and witness.
  • a team in the Old City of Jerusalem receiving, training and supporting those volunteers on the ground
  • a Local Reference Group representing communities and churches who have asked for and are benefitting from the program.
  • a team in Geneva for the overall coordination of the WCC-EAPPI programme
  • national coordinations in 21 countries worldwide, recruiting, sending, and receiving back the Ecumenical Accompaniers
  • almost 1800 hundred former Ecumenical Accompaniers (EAs), of whom many keep involved and interested in working towards a just peace in Palestine and Israel.

WCC Partner structures and key partners of WCC-EAPPI

The Jerusalem Inter Church Centre, headed by Mr. Yusef Daher, is hosting the EAPPI Jerusalem Office in its rented premises, and providing guidance and coordination with the local churches.

The Near East Christian Council Committee for Refugee Work- the International Christian Committee (NECC-ICC), headed by Mr. Ramzi Zananiri, is a Humanitarian Ecumenical Church Related Organization established in 1949, the oldest ecumenical organisation in the Middle East, provides essential legal and Human Resource services to the EAPPI programme.

The Palestine Israel Ecumenical Forum (PIEF) was launched by the WCC in 2007 to catalyze and co-ordinate new and existing church advocacy for peace, aimed at ending the illegal occupation of Palestinian territories in accordance with UN resolutions, and demonstrate its commitment to inter-religious action for peace and to justice that serves all peoples of the region

An important expression of Palestinian theologians connecting was the Kairos Document of December 2009, which gave birth to a Christian movement, which advocates worldwide for ending the Israeli occupation and achieving a just solution to the conflict. The Kairos Document is the word of Christian Palestinians to the world about what is happening in Palestine. “Our word is a cry of hope, with love, prayer and faith in God. We address it first of all to ourselves and then to all the churches and Christians in the world, asking them to stand against injustice and apartheid, urging them to work for a just peace.”

International and regional partners

In 2017, the WCC-EAPPI has marked 15 years of bringing volunteers to accompany people in Palestine and Israel navigating daily routines, often under duress.

The volunteers, proposed by WCC member churches, are known as Ecumenical Accompaniers (EAs) who serve for three months before returning to their church communities.

EAs from all age groups aim to offer a protective presence to vulnerable communities, monitoring and reporting human rights abuses.

They join Palestinians and Israelis who work in nonviolent ways for peace, and they interact with a myriad of international, Israeli and Palestinian partners.

The work of EAPPI is of direct interest to the International Committee of the Red Cross, United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human which count themselves as among groups with which the programme works.

EAPPI also works with UNICEF, the U.N. agency working for the protection of children, the non-governmental organization Save the Children and UNRWA, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East.

EAPPI works with international groups and non-government organizations (NGOs) in both Israel and Palestine.

Other NGOs it works with are the Norwegian Refugee Council, and EAPPI is a member of the East Jerusalem-based Association of International Development Agencies.

Palestinian, Israeli and mixed partner organizations

Links with B'Tselem

EAPPI also links up with Israeli groups such as B'Tselem - The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories. It has helped B'Tselem provide information and photographs on activities such the uprooting of Palestinians’ olive trees during Israeli settler expansion.

B'Tselem shared many goals with EAPPI and it says it acts primarily to change Israeli policy in the Occupied Territories and ensure that its government, which rules the territories, protects the human rights of residents there. It wants the government to comply with its obligations under international law. B'Tselem’s reports are taken seriously by the Israeli authorities, say both NGOs and state actors.

The Israeli group Machsom Watch, Women for human rights and against the occupation, engages in similar work to EAPPI, monitoring the treatment, say, of Palestinian workers coming through daily checkpoints from the West Bank to work in Israel.

Its members will meet with EAPPI volunteers and share information as they did in July at a checkpoint into Israel during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan in 2016.

Since a lot of EAPPI’s work involves observing and monitoring the treatment of people at checkpoints manned by Israeli soldiers it is natural for those in the programme to work with Breaking the Silence.

This is an organization of veteran combatants who have served in the Israeli military since the start of the second intifada and have taken it upon themselves to expose the Israeli public to the reality of everyday life in the occupied territories.

Legal Aid

EAPPI also works with the Jerusalem Legal Aid and Human Rights Center, which aims to combat human rights violations regardless of the perpetrating authority, by facilitating access to justice, lobbying and advocacy.

Another key partner of the work of EAPPI is Wi'am: The Palestinian Conflict Transformation Center, Bethlehem, a group that prides itself on its policy of waging peace. Among its projects is one creating safe space for children to express themselves through visual arts and crafts projects involving drawing, painting, clay-shaping, and mosaics.

EAPPI also works with the Alternative Tourism Group (ATG), a Palestinian NGO specializing in tours and pilgrimages that include critical examinations of the history, culture, and politics of the Holy Land.

ATG encourages tourism to Palestinian areas, which are often not on the path of tourists to sites in the Holy Land, or only fleetingly so.

ATG’s aim is to promote a positive image of Palestine and its people and to contribute towards establishing rightful peace in the area. Since its establishment, ATG has provided its services to thousands of people from all over the world.

See appendix for comprehensive list of organizations with which the WCC’s EAPPI works.


Response from the World Council of Churches

8 June, 2018. Following are questions and concerns from media sources focusing on the World Council of Churches Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI). EAPPI was created in 2002 based on a letter and an appeal from local church leaders to create an international presence in the Holy Land. Since then, EAPPI has advocated for justice and peace based on non-violence and a non-partisan approach.

The responses from the WCC, below, are available for all media who may have similar questions or concerns.
The responses from the WCC


Local Reference Group of the World Council of Churches’ Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel

The World Council of Churches’ (WCC) Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI) was created in 2002 by the WCC. It was prompted by a letter and an appeal from local church leaders to create an international presence in the country. Since then, 1,800 ecumenical accompaniers (EAs) have worked to create conditions for a just peace.

The WCC’s Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel advocates for justice and peace based on non-violence and a non-partisan approach. This is clearly outlined and emphasized in the programme’s key principles. To insure adherence to these vital principles at a local level in Israel and Palestine, a Local Reference Group (LRG) with representatives from the Christian, Muslim and Jewish communities, is appointed every three years.

The LRG provides guidance, advice and support to the WCC-EAPPI staff and national coordinators. Other main tasks are, strengthening relations with the local churches and local partner organizations, as well as promoting the WCC’s EAPPI at local and national levels.

The members of the LRG are recruited among knowledgeable and experienced advocates of justice and peace with a clear commitment to non-violence. The LRG meets regularly, supervising the programme and ensuring its alignment at all times with the WCC’s objectives.

An important principle is the inclusion in the group of two representatives each from the Jewish, Muslim and Christian communities in order to ensure cross-religious perspectives.

Since 2014, the LRG consists of the following representatives:

on behalf of Heads of Churches (Lutheran)
His Grace Bishop Munib Younan
Bishop ELCJHL, Redeemer Church

EAPPI interim Local Programme Coordinator (LPC)
Dr. Zoughbi Zoughbi

Member Christian tradition
Hosam Naoum

Member Christian tradition
(Latin Patriarchate)
To be appointed

Member Christian tradition
(Greek Catholic)
Zoughbi Zoughbi

Member Muslim tradition
Sam Bahour
Applied Information Management

Member Muslim tradition

Member Muslim tradition

Member Jewish tradition
Tamar Avraham

Member Jewish tradition
Michael Dahan
Lecturer Sapir College Tel Aviv

Member Jewish tradition
Rabbi Yehiel Grenimann
Rabbis for Human Rights

Mark Brown
LWF Regional Office – Augusta Victoria

Ex-officio, LSG
Premises – facilities
Yusef Daher
Jerusalem Inter-Church Center (JIC)

Ex-officio, LSG
Legal - staff contracts
Ramzi Zananiri