Episcopal Bishops of Europe and North America visit Holy Land; Cremisan Valley

(abouna.org) The 16 Bishops of the Holy Land Coordination, body that brings together Bishops and representatives of the Episcopal Conferences of Europe and North America, on Tuesday, January 13, visited the Cremisan Valley,the center of a long legal dispute between the owners of the land and the Israeli authorities.

Thebishops, currently paying a visit to Palestine and Israel, were welcomed by Fr. Faisal Hijazin, pastor of Beit Jala, and exchanged views with lawyer Raffoul al-Mutawakkil of the Society of St. Yves, body for the protection of human rights connected to the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, and with some of the 58 owners of agricultural land threatened by the continuation of the work.

The route of the security wall in the Cremnisan valley jeopardizes also the spiritual and educational work carried out by two Salesian religious institutes. Last year, the Holy Land Coordination launched an appeal for “justice in the Cremisan valley” and the necessity to affirm the need to set aside or review the project.

“We recognize the right of Israel to security and secure borders”, the Bishops wrote in their appeal, reiterating, however, that the route of the security wall falls largely on Palestinian territory and clearly diverges from the Green Line, the internationally recognized boundary line, which separates Israel and the Palestinian territories conquered in the Six Day War in 1967, and even this was defined as illegal by the international Court of Justice.