Friday, July 08, 2005

International Conflict/Peace Activities/Israel

Sun shines on Bakewell carnival

Matlock Today/

Judith Green embarks on a three month placement with the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Israel and Palestine (EAPPI) – an initiative of the World Council of Churches under the Ecumenical Campaign to End the Illegal Occupation of Palestine. She said: "It is about justice and about a just peace. It's not about being on one side or another, but to be a help to those who are advocating peace." Judith, a Quaker, became aware of the EAPPI programme while she was a mature student at Sussex University. "When people came back they spoke about their experiences. I went to hear two returnees. I was so moved by it that I felt I would like to go. So I went for an interview last year." Judith won one of only 12 places on the programme. Since it was launched in August 2002, 198 ecumenical accompaniers have participated from more than 30 churches and 12 different countries. While the programme's mission is to accompany Palestinians and Israelis in non-violent actions and make efforts to end the occupation, its objectives are to expose the violence of the occupation and ensure that respect is paid to human rights and international humanitarian law. Judith said: "We are not the sort of people who go and lie down in front of bulldozers. We are not heroes. We are there to be observers and recorders of human rights abuses on both sides." Judith admits that peace will not be easy – the region has been in the grip of war and severe unrest since the 1960s. Judith describes a situation in the country which is comparable to the Apartheid regime in South Africa, where Palestinian people are prevented from using certain roads and where whole communities and even families are divided by a wall – recently ruled as illegal by the International Court of Justice – which has been built through the West Bank.


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