August 26, 2003 in Jerusalem
Bishop Younan focussed on the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI) and then expanded his presentation by discussing some of the pressing political and religious issues. The section on the EAPPI can be divided into the role of the different denominations, the program”s origins and the role of the Ecumenical Accompaniers (EAs). The political and religious discussion can be broken down into the cause of the conflict, the Christian position, the "Wall," Fundamentalism, and the continued Christian presence in the Holy Land.
Bishop Younan was very interested in our denominations in order to determine which churches are sending Ecumenical Accompaniers. He expressed happiness that the Catholic Church is starting to send members.
The Accompaniment Program began with the call of the local churches to the World Council of Churches. The local churches requested no more statements but instead that people come to "be with us." The EAPPI is administered by the WCC but the ownership belongs to the local churches. The EAPPI was modeled after successful programs in South Africa, Nicaragua, etc.
The role of the EA is to see the truth. The EA is pro-justice. It is important to work with Israeli NGOs so that the program will be seen as balanced. The injustices will be seen quickly once volunteers begin their assignments. Advocacy not activism is expected. EAs see what is happening in order to report to the world what the Palestinians cannot report. The program does not come easily as the Israeli government continues the attempt to deny entry to peace workers if they are thought to be pro-Palestinian. Accompaniers are the eyes, ears and voice of the Palestinian people.
Political and Religious Issues
Cause of the Problem
Suicide bombings complicate the issue because they make Israelis victims for the whole world. The Churches are against this and have stated repeatedly that only non-violence will bring peace. However, as in any violent situation, violence is a symptom of a root cause. The root cause is occupation, which is a sin against human nature. This also hurts the occupiers because they, in this case the Israelis, are living the lie of superiority. The world powers, particularly the United States, are with the Israelis. "Bush has said