(January 30, 2019 / JNS)
The World Council of Churches (WCC) announced this morning that it is pulling its “ecumenical accompaniers” from Hebron due to “security concerns.”
The announcement came two days after Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu announced that Israel would not be extending the mandate of TIPH, the Temporary International Presence in Hebron.
The WCC’s flagship project, Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI), sends activists to Israel to “monitor” and “report human-rights abuses.”
WCC has recently come under fire from Im Tirtzu, NGO Monitor, CAMERA, DMU and other pro-Israel organizations over promoting anti-Israel rhetoric and the BDS movement.
Over the past few months, members of Im Tirtzu have been continuously filming and disrupting the activities of EAPPI in Hebron. Videos uploaded to social media by Im Tirtzu have been viewed hundreds of thousands of times.
According to WCC general secretary Rev. Dr. Olav Fykse Tveit, this “intensified harassment of WCC’s programme” caused it to pull the accompaniers.
“The WCC accompaniers are currently prevented from fulfilling their role as peaceful protective presence for residents in Hebron,” said Tveit.
Im Tirtzu CEO Matan Peleg welcomed this announcement and vowed to continue protecting Israel Defense Forces’ soldiers.
“We are pleased to see that foreign government-funded delegitimization organizations are beginning to leave Hebron,” said Peleg. “These organizations do nothing apart from fuel the fires of conflict and provoke IDF soldiers, and they are the true obstacle to peace.
“We are pleased that our efforts to ‘film the filmers’ succeeded, and we promise to continue working on behalf of IDF soldiers and the State of Israel.”