Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Yanoun revisited… Searching for a glimmer of hope

Pat Ochodnicky, a veteran accompanier with the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI), returned to the northern West Bank for a brief stint to cover for absent "EAs."

Her report, "Yanoun Revisited … searching for a glimmer of hope," can be found at this link:

Here is are a few excerpts:
"Ten months after completing our term as Ecumenical Accompaniers in the West Bank, teammates Rachel (UK), Birgitta (Sweden), and I gathered again in Jerusalem. We had maintained contact after leaving the country and dreamed not only of a reunion, but of a return to our beloved village of Yanoun."

"On the surface, the village was the same as we remembered. The children are naturally a bit taller and village matriarch Adla is a bit more stooped and now uses a cane to help navigate the uneven ground in front of their house. But it wasn’t long before we sensed a new tension and a kind of watchfulness just under the surface of the conversations and daily activities. Though we had followed the reports of the teams that succeeded us, we weren’t prepared for the changes that have taken place since we lift (sic)."

"There has been a marked expansion of the outposts on the surrounding hilltops. While the outposts are illegal even under Israeli law, they have government provided electricity, telephone lines, water and military protection. There are increased incursions into the village by armed settlers and by the military. While there has been no violence, they are very intimidating and dehumanizing. The settlers rarely speak, but peer into the homes and other buildings without even acknowledging the presence of those who dwell there. On one occasion, the men between the ages of 15 and 50 were ordered out of their homes at midnight by the military and forced to stand outside in the bitter cold for three hours because a settler reported that someone had been seen near their sheep shelter and was `thinking of stealing a sheep.'"

"In Burin, our contact family, refugees from 1948 whose home is separated from the rest of the village by a settler road, reported the same pattern of increased harassment and destruction. Twenty-three olive trees were burned during the summer. Settlers also entered their home and attempted to set fire to it. Last year there were water storage tanks on their roof, but the settlers protested and the military removed them. Whereas last year settlers came in twos and threes, they now come in groups of twenty to thirty. But there is a new baby to cuddle, and coffee and tea and fruit and popcorn … and for a brief time we were able to laugh and reminisce and put aside the grim realities."

Read all of Pat's reports at her blog:

Want to see where Yanoun is located? There's a map at this link:

The EAPPI is an effort of the World Council of Churches:
The US website is

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