Construction work on the separation wall in the Cremisan valley near Bethlehem intensified at the beginning of April 2016 and has entered its operational phase. After excavators and bulldozers, cranes are now embedding sections of concrete, eight meters high, on the land of this valley, that was once home of centuries-old olive trees.
The Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem has expressed its profound disappointment at the continuing work and reiterates its condemnation of this operation carried out by Israeli forces. "The construction of a separation wall and the unjust confiscation of land belonging to Christian families in Beit Jala", said a statement, "is a violent offense against the peace process". The patriarchal statement recalls the International Court of Justice ruled on July 9, 2004, as well as the General Assembly of the UN, that the construction of the wall is illegal and demanded that it be dismantled.
Also, in April 2015, the Israeli Supreme Court had recognized that the barrier is no justification to the security of Israel.
The planned route runs through the Cremisan valley on land owned by 58 Christian Palestinian families, close to a monastery and its sister convent and school. The wall has been opposed by local Christian leaders and the Vatican. The wall will separate the West Bank city of Beit Jala from the settlement of Har Gilo and the village of Walaja. Critics claim its real purpose is not to increase security but to allow Israeli settlement expansion.
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