In recent years, Palms Australia’s expertise in cross-cultural and development preparation and support has been utilised by many different organisations. Each of these organisations recognises the vital role that such preparation plays in providing a framework for “mutually enriching and challenging relationships of acceptance, understanding and care … with people of a culture different from one’s own” (Palms Australia’s mission statement).
At our 90th Orientation Course we hosted, for the first time, participants from the World Council of Churches’ Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI). Debra Porter, from the National Council of Churches in Australia, briefly explains the aims of the programme here.
The EAPPI seeks to support local and international efforts to end the Israeli occupation and bring a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with a just peace, based on international law and relevant United Nations resolutions.
In 2006 the National Council of Churches in Australia committed itself to establishing an Australian EAPPI desk, working toward the selection, training and fundraising necessary to send volunteers to Palestine and Israel.
Ecumenical Accompaniers (EAs) travel to Palestine and Israel to experience the life of Palestinians and Israelis first hand. EAs create a visible, international presence; listen to local people; monitor check points; write stories; give presentations; and much more.
The mission of the EAPPI is to accompany Palestinians and Israelis in daily life, in non-violent actions and carry out concerted advocacy efforts to end the occupation. Participants in the program monitor and report violations of human rights and international humanitarian law, support acts of non-violent resistance alongside local Christian and Muslim Palestinians and Israeli peace activists, offer protection through non-violent presence, enable children to safely attend school, assist locals to obtain permission to travel and tend agricultural land, engage in public policy advocacy and, in general, stand in solidarity with the churches and all those struggling against the occupation. Information collected by EAs is shared with the United Nations and other organisations.
In 2010, Australia is excited to be sending 3 EAs to participate in this very successful programme of the WCC. Since early 2002 there have been over 500 EAs, primarily from Europe, North America and South Africa, volunteering protection and assisting the world to hear the stories of Palestinians and Israelis. The WCC is working hard to engage more countries in the EAPPI.
If you want to keep in touch with what is happening through the EAPPI visit www.eappi.org and/or ask to be included in the Australian EAPPI e-news by sending an email request to [email protected].
Want to become an Australian EA? Visit our web pages at http://www.ncca.org.au/departments/eappi, read more about the program and email a request for an application form and information to [email protected]. Palestinians and Israelis, Christians, Muslims, Jews, people of all faiths, need Australia’s participation in this important programme!
Australia’s EAPPI is grateful to Palms Australia for assisting our training process. We look forward to working with Palms in the future.
Palms Australia is glad to support such a worthwhile peace-building programme: one which does not seek to impose solutions or dominate, but simply aims to walk humbly and peacefully with communities.
For more information about how Palms’ Orientation Course can assist your organisation prepare its cross-cultural workers, abroad or at home, contact Brendan Joyce on (02) 9518 9551.