PRESS RELEASE: The Assembly of Catholic Ordinaries of the Holy Land condemns the planned route of the separation wall in the Cremisan valley.
The issued seizure orders affect Al Walaja village and 58 Christian families from Beit Jala whose livelihood depends on this land. Furthermore, the two local Salesian congregations located there would be negatively affected in their Mission work towards the local community.
Separated from Cremisan valley, the local community will lose one of its last big agricultural and recreational areas as well as a crucial water source for farmers. In fact, Cremisan green area is the main lung through which the population of Bethlehem can breathe. Besides, the 450 children attending the Salesian Sisters’ school will have to go to a prison-like school, surrounded by military barriers and check-points.
On July 9, 2004, the International Court of Justice found the separation wall illegal under international law. The Assembly of Catholic Bishops has the same stand. We therefore instructed Society of St. Yves to file a case against the Military Authorities.
The planned construction of the wall will put more pressure on the remaining Christians living in Bethlehem. Without an income and a future for their children, more people will make the decision to leave the Holy Land.
The Catholic Ordinaries deny the existence of any explicit or implicit agreement between the Vatican, the local church and Israeli authorities regarding the construction of this illegal wall and therefore strongly call on the State of Israel to restrain from its plan to separate Cremisan valley from Bethlehem.
October 23th, 2012,
+ Fouad TWAL
Patriarch of Jerusalem for Latins
+ Elias CHACOUR
Greek Catholic Melkite Archbishop of Akka
Vice President A.C.O.H.L.
+ Giorgio LINGUA
Apostolic Nuncio forJordan
Msgr. Waldemar SOMMERTAG
Chargé d’Affaires of the Apostolic Delegation inJerusalem & Palestine
Apostolic Nunciature for Israel &C yprus
+ Michel SABBAH
Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem Emeritus
+ Yaser Al-AYYASH
Greek Catholic Melkite Archbishop of Petra and Philadelphia (Amman)
+ Joseph SOUEIF
Maronite Archbishop of Cyprus
+ Mussa AL-HAGE
Maronite Archbishop of Haifa & Holy Land
Maronite Exarch of Jerusalem
+ Boutros MOUALLEM
Greek Catholic Melkite Archbishop of Akka Emeritus
+ Gregoire Pierre MELKI
Syrian Catholic Exarch of Jerusalem
+ Joseph Jules ZEREY
Greek Melkite Patriarchal Vicar of Jerusalem
+ Maroun LAHHAM
Latin Patriarchal Vicar for Jordan
+ Giacinto-Boulos MARCUZZO
Latin Patriarchal Vicar for Israel
+ William SHOMALI
Latin Patriarchal Vicar forJerusalem & Palestine
+ Kamal-Hanna BATHISH
Latin Patriarchal Vicar General Emeritus
+ Selim SAYEGH
Latin Patriarchal Vicar forJordan Emeritus
Msgr. Joseph KELEKIAN
Armenian Catholic Exarch of Jerusalem
Very Rev. Pierbattista PIZZABALLA, OFM
Custos of theHoly Land
Rev. Evencio HERRERA DIAZ, OFM
Latin Patriarchal Vicar for Cyprus
Rev. David NEUHAUS, S.J.
Patriarchal Vicar Hebrew speaking Vicariate
Rev. Raymond MOUSSALLI
Chaldean Patriarchal Vicar for Jordan
Rev. Pietro FELET, scj