The decision by Israel’s Supreme Court to allow the building of the separation barrier through the historic Cremisan Valley has shocked Catholics in the Middle East. The Cremisan Valley is located on the seam line between West Bank and Jerusalem. One of the last green areas in the Bethlehem district, the Valley is a home to two Salesian monasteries and a convent school.
There had been moves by Israeli military to extend the wall through the Cremisan Valley, but was blocked due to a series of international appeals. If the wall is built, the cordial existence of the Catholic will be bisected, with the religious building falling into the Palestinian side of the wall and the land belonging to 58 Palestinian families being cut off on Israel side. Israel demands the construction of the wall for security reasons. On the other hand the Palestinians argue that the move is propelled by Israel’s intentions to confiscate the fertile land.
This issue is between two warring nations. But the sufferers are common me in between. Bishop William Shomali, the Latin Patriarch’s Vicar for Jerusalem, said, “We were surprised by the new decision of the High Court… we don’t understand why this decision now”. The sad plight of the people ‘living in between’ continues.