The men’s breakfast group had a fascinating, though disturbing talk from Elizabeth Brightwell who has recently returned from a 3 month spell in Palestine as an Ecumenical Accompanier. The Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (E.A.P.P.I) is an international organisation and is co-ordinated by the World Council of Churches. There are about 25 countries involved and over 1,500 Ecumenical Accompaniers have been sent to Israel-occupied Palestine since 2002. Around 200 of these have been from Britain and Ireland. The programme is managed in Britain and Ireland by Quaker Peace and Social Witness on behalf of its partners – which include C.A.F.O.D, Churches Together in Britain and Ireland, Christian Aid, Pax Christi UK, The Church of Scotland, Church Mission Society, Iona Community, The Methodist Church, The Scottish Episcopal Church, Presbyterian Church of Wales, The United Reformed Church, the Baptist Union of Great Britain.
Liz described her 3 month placement – she only spoke of her own experiences to ensure impartiality and accuracy. Her talk included some of the history behind the conflict between Palestine and Israel and outlined some of the ways in which Israel violates Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law. The issues are complex and EAPPI has to work hard to maintain its neutrality and to end the occupation and promote a just peace in Palestine and Israel. Find out more about the work of EAPPI in the EA’s blogs here.
If you are interested in finding out how you might be able to make a difference yourself, an FAQ about the Accompanier scheme and details of how to enrol are here http://eappi.org/en/join/become-an-ea/ea-faqs