Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Congressional Accompaniment Project Program 2007

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Congressional Accompaniment Project Program 2007

Article excerpt

THIRTEEN COMMITTED advocates for peace and justice took part in the 2007 Congressional Accompaniment Project (CAP) tour, visiting Palestinians and Israelis in Jerusalem and the occupied Palestinian territories from April 1 to 10. The CAP travel program helps congressional representatives become more informed regarding the facts on the ground in Israel and Palestine. "These annual visits to the Holy Land provide hands-on educational experience for members of Congress, their foreign policy aides, and their local constituents," explained organizer Rev. Darrell Yeaney of Iowa City, Iowa. "We had a wonderful, safe, informative and inspiring trip.

"The people of the area are greatly troubled," Yeaney said. "The Palestinians in the occupied Palestinian territories and minority populations of Israel are suffering greatly under the policies of the Israeli government. But we, as Americans with humanitarian concerns, were graciously and courteously received everywhere, especially among the Palestinians of the West Bank."

Yeaney's group stayed in Jerusalem and traveled widely in the surrounding area, conducting about 30 interviews of government officials, human rights leaders, religious and humanitarian non-governmental organizations, educators, students, farmers, business people, Palestinian refugees, and Israeli settlers.

Nearly everyone, including elected officials of the Palestinian National Authority, spoke of their commitment to a two-state solution to the conflict, Yeaney said, but they also pointed out the intransigence of political leaders, the inability of the fledgling Palestinian Authority to unify and control its diverse parties, and most, importantly, the continued violation of past agreements by the Israeli government. "Israel's continued physical violation of Palestinian personal and property rights and land confiscations prevent any real negotiation and accommodation," said Yeaney. "In addition, the small but virulent extremist groups on both sides continue to provide excuses for government leaders to accuse the other side of terrorism."

The group visited the Aida Refugee Camp in Bethlehem, home to 4,500 Palestinian refugees, more than half children. "We were shown some of the ongoing efforts by the Palestinian community to ease the daily trauma of their lives," said group member Jeri Rauh. Camp residents are very proud of their small library as well as a common room with several computers, and their efforts to start a photography project for the children. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.