World Council of Churches exits Hebron, citing ‘security concerns’

The World Council of Churches is pulling members of its main program out of Hebron.

By David Isaac, World Israel News 

The World Council of Churches (WCC) announced Wednesday that it is pulling its “ecumenical accompaniers” from Hebron due to “security concerns.”

The move follows Israel’s decision Tuesday to remove the Temporary International Presence in Hebron (TIPH). The observer group was established in the wake of the Oslo Accords with a mandate to monitor compliance with the agreement that divided the city between the Palestinian Authority and Israel. However, the group came under fire for repeatedly demonstrating an anti-Israel bias.

The WCC has also been accused of anti-Israel activity. Most recently, NGO Monitor revealed that WCC’s flagship program in Israel, the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI), brings activists to “witness life under occupation.” These activists then return to their home communities where they “engage in anti-Israel advocacy, such as BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions) campaigns.”

According to WCC general secretary Rev. Dr. Olav Fykse Tveit, “intensified harassment of WCC’s programme” caused it to pull its accompaniers.

“The WCC accompaniers are currently prevented from fulfilling their role as peaceful protective presence for residents in Hebron,” said Tveit.

Over the past few months, members of Im Tirtzu, a pro-Zionist NGO, have been filming and disrupting the activities of EAPPI in Hebron. Im Tirtzu says its videos exposing EAPPI have been viewed hundreds of thousands of times on social media.

Im Tirtzu CEO Matan Peleg welcomed WCC’s announcement and vowed to continue protecting IDF soldiers. “We are pleased to see that foreign government-funded delegitimization organizations are beginning to leave Hebron,” Peleg said.

“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.”