From April of this, retired accountant, Grandad and Greenbelt volunteer Team Leader Paul Clark from Bourton-on-the-Water in the Cotswolds will spend three months working as a human rights monitor on the West Bank.
As part of his role, Paul will be involved in escorting Palestinian children to school who are at risk from violent Israeli settlers and monitor human rights abuses at military checkpoints.
Paul says: “I live in the heart of a farming community where the farmers are able to travel easily to their fields without encountering serious problems and can send their children to school without fear. On four visits to Palestine, however, I have seen many instances where the movement of Palestinians is severely restricted. They must pass through checkpoints or an eight-metre high wall to get to work or to school. They must present umpteen different kinds of permit and they must regularly face abuse and violence from settlers or the military.”
So who is Paul going with? He’s going with the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel – an international initiative of the World Council of Churches. Due to their experience in running a similar programme previously, our friends the Quakers in Britain agreed in 2002 to be the implementing partner for EAPPI in the UK and Republic of Ireland – and they still do this today.
While away, and on his return, Paul will advocate for an end to the Israeli occupation of Palestine and to bring about a just peace for both sides of the conflict. If you are interested in hosting a meeting where Paul can tell you about his experiences and the people he has met when he’s back, please email us on firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll pass your request on when he’s back in the country after 26th July.
Paul will join us again as a volunteer team leader this August at Greenbelt 2016 : Silent Stars.