While the world's attention turns to the dramatic situation in Gaza, the Israeli Army has begun uprooting ancient olive trees in Bethlehem's Cremisan area, marking out the path of the wall to be built through one of the region's most valuable heritage sites. The Cremisan area is of significant heritage value. Some of the finest examples of the regions ancient terraced landscape can be found here. The Wall will carve through these terraces annexing the monastery and destroying agricultural landscapes that have survived for centuries. The convent of Cremisan was founded in 1883 by Salesians on ruins of a Byzantine monastery from the 7th century. The community make wine from grapes grown on their own land and from Beit Jala, Beit Shemesh, and Hebron area. A number of theological students from other countries are educated here. Open Bethlehem's Chief Executive, Leila Sansour said: "At a time when the US Congress is considering the plight of Palestinian Christians, we are witnessing the destruction of this community's land, heritage and livelihood. The people of Bethlehem are united in their message to the international community: if you want to help us, stop the construction of Israel's Wall." The last announcement of major confiscation of Beit Jala's land happened in March when world attention was focused on the Jericho Prison siege. Source: OBC
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