For approx. a month ago we wrote about NGO Monitor’s analysis of the Ecumenical Accompaniment Program in Palestine and Israel – EAPPI (The Ecumenical Accompaniment Program in Palestine and Israel), which is run by the World Council of Churches (WCC). Conclusion: The EAPPI may do some good among the Palestinians, but for the most part they are making provocations and spreading anti-Israel propaganda of the worst kind. And EAPPI participants learn to drive hetz against Israel, which they perform when they return home after a 3-month stay.
Now additional stressful information has emerged, i.a. in an article in and a 7.5 minute video on The Jerusalem Post. The documentation has been collected over the last four years by three Israeli groups, coordinated by Amit Barak, an Israeli activist from Nokdim (in Gush Etzion).
EAPPI participants patrol along with members of Israeli groups claiming to work for human rights, while focusing mostly on fighting Israel. They wade into residential neighborhoods dressed in the official-looking brown vests that bear the EAPPI pigeon-shaped logo. NGO Monitor has worked closely with Amit Barak and other Israelis who live in these neighborhoods – and who since 2016 have experienced being harassed and provoked by EAPPI participants – not least on Shabbat.
EAPPI violates Israeli law, primarily by having participants come on tourist visas and then gather information about IDF operations and training in Jerusalem and Hebron. As mentioned in our January article, EAPPI is not itself registered as an NGO in Israel, but acts through the “Jerusalem InterChurch Center”, a collaboration between four Christian denominations.
The collection process and some results are shown on the video.
It is unknown what to do with the information, but one can fear the worst. EAPPI has i.a. collaborated with Hassan Breijieh, spokesman for the PFLP (Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – which, among other things, the EU formally considers a terrorist organization). EAPPI collaborates with extremely anti-Israel organizations and activities – including BDS-promoting organizations, although the World Council of Churches does not formally support BDS. And they have relations with Palestinians who have been convicted of murder – e.g. EAPPI participants were sent on a visit to a terrorist who in 2017 killed Yosef Salomon as well as his daughter Chaya and son Elad, and seriously injured his wife Tova, in Halamish (also known as Neve Tzuf).
Together with Israeli authorities, NGO Monitor, CAMERA (Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America), and the coalition, coordinated by Amit Barak, have put pressure on EAPPI. Part of the pressure has also come from Israel’s refusal to renew the mandate of TIPH – “Temporary International Presence in Hebron”. MIFF in Norway has covered the decision, including an interview with Bent Solum, about why the decision made sense. On January 29, WCC announced that EAPPI participants would be withdrawn from Hebron, as it is believed that TIPH’s withdrawal has impaired participants’ safety.
WCC will not comment on the allegations against EAPPI.
The World Council of Churches is also involved with Cairo’s Palestine, which we wrote about in December 2018.
Further background on EAPPI and the revelations: “Israel cracks down on BDS: Activists to be deported, refused entry into the country” from August 2016, based on articles in the Tazpit Press Service (TPS).