Israeli supreme court rules against wall construction in Cremisan Valley, Bethlehem, once and for all

(Vatican Radio) Palestinians in the West Bank are celebrating after Israel’s Supreme Court rejected a plan to build a section of the so-called separation barrier through the Cremisan Valley, located close to Bethlehem.

For the past nine years, the Israeli government has been waging a legal battle to route the wall between a Salesian monastery and a neighbouring convent and primary school run by nuns. Under the proposed plan, fifty-eight Christian families would have been cut off from their land and livelihood, while Israel’s defence ministry argued it was necessary to protect two nearby settlements.

During his May 2014 visit to the Holy Land, Pope Francis met with some of the local people whose families have grown olives and fruit trees in the Cremisan valley for centuries. The village had been recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site last year because of its ancient agricultural terraces and irrigation system

Commenting on the court’s decision yesterday, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, Fuad Twal described it as an important victory, saying the announcement had special significance in the Holy Land ahead of Easter celebrations.

Jesuit Father David Neuhaus, who is in charge of the small Hebrew-speaking Catholic community in Israel, also welcomed the decision, though he stressed the broader battle against the construction of the wall continues….

Listen to radio report.