Established in August 2002, the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI) is an initiative of the World Council of Churches (WCC), which is a major supporter of the campaign to divest financially from all Israeli business entities. Asserting that it was “developed as a response to Israel’s violation of internationally accepted norms and principles of human rights and the rule of law,” EAPPI seeks to: “expose the violence of the [Israeli] occupation”; “end the brutality, humiliation and violence against civilians”; “influence public opinion in [the] home country and affect foreign policy on [the] Middle East in order to end the occupation and create a viable Palestinian State”; “express solidarity with Palestinian and Israeli peace activists and empower local Palestinian communities/churches”; and “be an active witness that an alternative, non-violent struggle for justice and peace is possible to end the illegal occupation of Palestine.”
Toward these ends, EAPPI organizes internships and three-month visits to Palestinian villages, where activists monitor “violations of human rights and international humanitarian law, suppor[t] acts of non-violent resistance alongside local Christian and Muslim Palestinians and Israeli peace activists, offe[r] protection through non-violent presence, engag[e] in public policy advocacy and, in general, stan[d] in solidarity with the churches and all those struggling against the occupation.” Thereafter, they return to their communities in Europe and North America, where they join anti-Israel political campaigns.
EAPPI’s activities are managed by Salpy Eskidjian, an Armenian Cypriot whose anti-Israel agenda is reflected in the organization’s Ecumenical Campaign to End the Illegal Occupation of Palestine, a program that sends “Ecumenical Accompaniers” to Palestinian villages for three-month periods “to try to reduce the brutality of the Occupation and improve the daily lives of both peoples.” Since the program was launched, accompaniers have participated from churches in 14 countries: Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, New Zealand, Norway, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
Despite its claims of balance and fairness, EAPPI consistently employs such terms as “apartheid” and “war crimes” in reference to Israel‘s treatment of Palestinians, and cooperates with such radical Palestinian NGOs as the Union of Palestinian Medical Relief Committees.
This profile is adapted, with permission, from the NGO Monitor.