Gospel nonviolence in action: Case study from Israel/Palestine

Zougbhi Zougbhi, Director of Wi'am Palestinian Conflict Resolution Center in Bethlehem. Image FoR

Zougbhi Zougbhi, Director of Wi’am Palestinian Conflict Resolution Center in Bethlehem. Image FoR

What does Gospel nonviolence look like in action? The Fellowship of Reconciliation held a joint conference with the Anglican Pacifist Fellowship looking at this, and included a talk from the Revd David Mumford. Over a series of 14 blogs, some short and some longer, he outlines the different themes and topics covered in his presentation. 

The presence of observers can help to reduce the level of violence, especially if the international background of the accompaniers makes it more likely that the local state will find it difficult to cover up. Bodies such as the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI) or Christian Peacemaker Teams send volunteers to live and work alongside communities and campaigners at risk of violence or intimidation.

EAPPI was created in 2002 by the World Council of Churches, following a letter and appeal from local church leaders in Israel and Palestine to create an international presence in the country. Between 25-30 Ecumenical Accompaniers serve at any given time, spending three months accompanying, offering protective presence, and bearing witness. There are now almost 1800 hundred former Ecumenical Accompaniers, many of whom keep involved and interested in working towards a just peace in Palestine and Israel.

This last point is important for the winning of specific issue campaigns. There is a profound value in speaking truth to power and to wider society. People can change and nonviolence through always respecting the humanity and that of the divine within each person makes it much easier for reconciliation to take place.