Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel
PWS volunteers take part in a three-month mission in the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel - EAPPI.
This international programme is an initiative from the World Council of Churches (WCC/COE) in the framework of the Ecumenical Campaign to End the Illegal Occupation of Palestine and Support a Just Peace in the Middle East.
EAPPI responds to the call from local churches and Palestinian and Israeli human rights organizations for international presence.
You will find a lot more information on the EAPPI Programme website: www.eappi.org
The mission of EAPPI is to accompany Palestinians and Israelis in their nonviolent actions and to carry out concerted advocacy efforts to end the occupation. Participants in the programme monitor and report violations of human rights and international humanitarian law, support acts of nonviolent resistance alongside local Christian and Muslim Palestinians and Israeli peace activists, offer protection through nonviolent presence, engage in public policy advocacy and in general, stand in solidarity with the churches and all those struggling against the occupation.
While the programme's mission is to accompany Palestinians and Israelis in nonviolent actions and concerted advocacy efforts to end the occupation, some of its detailed objectives are to:
EAPPI is based on principles of international humanitarian law and Human Rights Law, including resolutions of the UN Security Council, General Assembly and Commission on Human Rights. One of EAPPI's guiding principles is impartiality. The EAPPI Code of Conduct states: 'We do not take sides in this conflict and we do not discriminate against anyone but we are not neutral in terms of principles of human rights and international humanitarian law. We stand faithfully with the poor, the oppressed and the marginalized. We want to serve all parties in this conflict in a fair and unbiased manner in word and action.'
Our approach is based on our belief that the occupation is harmful not only to Palestinians but also to Israelis and we are concerned about the suffering experienced by both parties, Palestinians and Israelis. We acknowledge the humanity of everyone involved in this conflict, be they victims or perpetrators of violence and human rights abuses, but the programme demonstrates our solidarity with people on both sides of this conflict who strive nonviolently to end the occupation and achieve a just peace.
We are deeply concerned for the safety and dignity of all those we work with, and provide protective presence wherever possible. However, the protection we provide is by presence alone and as such is limited – we recognize that we cannot protect civilians from suicide bombings, rockets or military operations due to the nature of such acts.
We also wish to support local people, whenever they find it possible, to become agents in their own protection and help protecting one another. At the same time, we acknowledge that local people's confidence and scope of action may be severely reduced, although it is not zero. Wherever possible we will look to support the increase of local peoples' potential for action in pursuit of their own protection and safety in ways that demonstrates and accentuates people's interdependence.