Jane Harries, a Quaker from the United Kingdom, has recently returned from a three–month stint in the West Bank, working with the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI). She was based in Yanoun, a small Palestinian village near Nablus, living with its people and observing how they relate to Israelis from nearby settlement communities and the IDF. Listen to her 10-minute podcast with journalist Roy Jenkins of the BBC about her work there as part of this ecumenical programme.
This program came under attack recently by some in the UK who described the program as biased against Israel. Despite the controversy, the Church of England voted to support the program and others working for peace and justice in the Holy Land. The short motion commits the Church to support: the work of EAPPI (including making “use of the experience of returning participants”), aid agencies working with Palestinians, “Israelis and Palestinians in all organisations working for justice and peace in the area” (citing Parents Circle – Family Forum specifically), and “organisations that work to ensure” the “continuing presence [of Christian Palestinians] in the Holy Land”.
The ELCA has sponsored many Ecumenical Accompaniers since the program began in 2002, when the heads of churches in Jerusalem asked the World Council of Churches and churches all over the world to support their Christian sisters and brothers in Palestine and act in the face of increasing violence and the extended occupation in Israel/Palestine.