WCC: Ecumenical accompaniers report growing violence against Palestinians

WCC: Ecumenical accompaniers report growing violence against Palestinians

The latest group of ecumenical accompaniers from the World Council of Churches Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (WCC-EAPPI) have reported growing incidents of violence against Palestinians in the West Bank and Jerusalem.

In the period 28 June through 9 September, 57% of the human rights violations reported by ecumenical accompanies included violence against Palestinians. Previous groups of accompaniers reported 50% and 48%. Accompaniers provided protective presence, monitoring checkpoints, briefings, support to nonviolent action, and interventions that ensured a visible active presence.

Yusef Daher, WCC-EAPPI interim local programme coordinator, said: “It is no surprise that under the current Israeli government, incidents of human rights violations are increasing in the West Bank and Jerusalem.”  He noted that ecumenical accompaniers themselves have also been victims of harassment.

Daher went on to say: “Due to the rise in violence, ordinary people in Palestine and Israel need us here, EAPPI is becoming more relevant, and partner contributions are more appreciated than ever.”

The accompaniers documented many incidents, including, on 29 August, one in which a settler stopped his car in the middle of the road near Tuqua, Bethlehem, and tried to push an 8-year-old Palestinian child into the car. The people gathered, saved the child, and brought him to safety.

Local residents expressed their appreciation for the ecumenical accompaniers. “It means a lot that you are here, that you care, that you listen,” said an elderly woman threatened with eviction from her home in Jerusalem’s Old City. The World Week for Peace in Palestine and Israel is being observed this week from 16-23 September under the theme “No place to lay my head,” a theme that reflects the challenge for Palestinian families as well as other people facing difficulties to a uniting home.