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Controversy over EAPPI rumbles on

19 April 2013

SARAH MALIAN/CHRISTIAN AID

Observer: an "ecumenical accompanier" monitors the Qalandiya between Jerusalem and Ramallah

Observer: an "ecumenical accompanier" monitors the Qalandiya between Jerusalem and Ramallah

THE controversy over the General Synod's decision last year to support a private members' motion endorsing the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI) continues. More than 280 people have signed a letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury, expressing "deep concern" over comments he made to a Jewish newspaper last month.

Archbishop Welby told The Jewish News that he wished he had voted against the motion rather than abstaining, saying: "I think the situation in the Holy Land is so complicated . . . and I don't think the motion adequately reflected the complexity" ( News, 28 March).

The campaigners' letter states: "The main criticism that was levelled against EAPPI before the vote was . . . that it created 'a cohort of very partisan but very motivated anti-Israel advocates who have almost no grasp of the suffering of normal Israelis'. However, EAPPI seeks a just solution to the problems in the Holy Land."

On Tuesday, the Revd Stephen Sizer, Vicar of Christ Church, Virginia Water, said that the letter was intended to be "conciliatory". "We genuinely want to advocate for EAPPI. We fear they have been misunderstood by the Archbishop, or those who advise him."

Speaking about Archbishop Welby's planned visit to the Holy Land in June, Mr Sizer said he hoped that he would be "an advocate for the Church in Israel and Palestine".

Lambeth Palace said that they would not comment on the letter "at this stage".

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