As of this week the General Synod of the Church of England will meet and will, during the course of its sitting, vote on a very important private members’ motion proposed byDr John Dinnen, Synod member for Hereford. The motion concerns Church volunteers who are sent to vulnerable communities in Palestine, where their task is to protect and show solidarity with Palestinians and Israelis working for peace in the Middle East.
These volunteers are known as “ecumenical accompaniers” (EAs) and 100 such EAs from different countries are sent to Palestine under the ‘Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel’ (EAPPI). When they return home, EAs campaign for a just and peaceful resolution to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict by advocating for an end to occupation, respect for international law and the implementation of UN resolutions. Historically, the EAs have witnessed first-hand the dire situation of the Palestinians in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, territories which are under Israeli occupation. The Israeli settlements in these regions are recognised by the British Government as illegal under international law.
Not surprisingly, the EAPPI has come under criticism from the Board of Deputies of British Jews who are seeking to mobilize opposition to the motion.
More details on the EAPPI can be read here.
What can you do?
The EAPPI has given countless EAs exposure to life under Israeli occupation and the daily indignities suffered by Palestinians. It is therefore vital that the work of the EAPPI and its Volunteers continues. You can do the following (with the attached template letter) to play your part;
1. Please write to your local Bishop and urge him to support the motion proposed by Dr Dinnen explaining that for peace and justice to prevail in the Middle East, the obstacles to the peace process presented by the Israeli occupation must be challenged – the EAPPI and EA’s are absolutely vital to this objective. Letter template can be found here. Contact details for your local Bishop and Diocese can be found here.
2. Please write to the Archbishop of Canterbury, urging him to recognize the significance of the EAPPI and of the EAs. The letter template attached can also be used for this. Address your letters to: The Most Rev and Rt Hon The Lord Archbishop of Canterbury, Lambeth Palace, London, SE1 7JU.