The Christian Peacemakers Team (CPT) is the driving force behind the campaign for divestment from Israel and is responsible for fueling Palestinian extremism, a new report published this week by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs alleges.
The CPT is an American pacifist organization with a branch in Hebron.
But the report, released by the Jerusalem Center’s NGO-Monitor, claims that there is a "vast gap between CPT’s claims to work for peace ‘through non-violent means’ and its biased political agenda. CPT’s strident advocacy is part of the NGO-led divestment campaign designed to promote demonization and isolation of Israel in the framework of the ongoing political conflict."
CPT, an international religious organization with some 200 active members stationed around the world, works with Palestinians in and around Hebron, accompanying children to school and monitoring checkpoints. In October of last year, two of their American volunteers, together with three other internationals, were attacked by settlers when escorting Palestinian children to school in the village of Al-Tuwani in the southern Hebron hills, on a route that passes between the settlement of Maon and the outpost of Havat Maon.
In the past, however, CPT volunteers have also ridden on Israeli public buses during especially high waves of terrorism, in an attempt to deter Palestinian bus bombings.
Founded by the Mennonites, the organization now draws religious volunteers from across the Christian spectrum, including Catholics, Baptists and Episcopalians.
"Our delegates meet both Palestinians and Israelis who have lost family members to violence," CPT support team member Rich Meyer said in response. "To label our efforts as ‘anti-Israeli’ only makes sense if you think not ending the occupation is good for Israel. In the view of many Israelis, ending the occupation is in Israel’s best interests, as a necessary step toward a negotiated resolution."
"Members of Christian Peacemaker Teams are committed to nonviolence and promote nonviolent alternatives in all the contexts in which we work," he added. "We are opposed to all terrorism, whether by soldiers, settlers or Palestinians."