It is really surprising that, in an interview with The Jewish News, Archbishop Welby, who is scheduled to visit Israel in June, now says he should have voted against a General Synod motion that endorsed the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI), which was passed by the Synod last year (News, 29 June 2012, Synod, 13 July 2012).
EAPPI is a World Council of Churches (WCC) initiative established in 2002 in response to a call made by the Heads of Churches in Jerusalem, and Palestinian and Israeli NGOs.
Its volunteers offer protection through a non-violent presence and observe and report any violations of human rights. Lynda MacInnes, a programme co-ordinator, speaks about this work in a short video (2018, no longer available). More news and a list of partner churches and church-related organisations may be seen on the EAPPI website.
The Board of Deputies of British Jews objected to the motion’s calling for the Synod to “affirm its support” for EAPPI. It said that EAPPI’s “ecumenical accompaniers”, who monitor human-rights abuses of Palestinians, had “almost no grasp of the suffering of normal Israelis”. Dr John Dinnen, the Synod member for Hereford diocese who proposed the motion, said:
“The Measure was carefully drafted with the advice of Archbishop Rowan [Williams] and it was passed by a large majority by General Synod. It was also strongly supported by many British Jews and Jewish groups, such as Jews for Justice for Palestinians and the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions. . .
“When he visits Israel and Palestine, I hope Archbishop Justin, like Archbishop Rowan before him, will visit the West Bank and speak to ordinary Palestinians whose lives are disrupted by the separation wall built on their land, deep in their territory, and by demolitions, movement restrictions, and other manifestations of the military occupation of Palestine.”
Ecumenical Accompaniers are now being recruited to serve in the West Bank and/or Israel in 2014, offering a living allowance and benefits. 18 people are needed to serve for 3 months and 2 to serve for 4.5 months in four different teams.
The ‘role description’ sets out the essential requirements required for this work: Essential advice for applicants [PDF: 59 kb – new window]
The deadline for applications is Friday 21st June 2013.