Beit Jala (Agenzia Fides) - The Supreme Court of Israel, with a pronouncement in many ways surprising, on Monday, July 7 gave the green light to the construction of the "separation Wall" between Israel and Palestine in the stretch that crosses the Cremisan valley, according to the intent that has always been pursued by the Israeli Ministry of Defense. This new provision contradicts the previous pronouncement, delivered by the supreme judicial body of the State of Israel, which in early April had ruled - presented as definitive after a dispute that lasted nearly eight years - the rejection of the Wall route proposed by the army and the Israeli Ministry of Defence, and invited the Israeli military authorities to find other, less devastating alternatives for the local people.
The resumption of work authorized by the Court provides only a slight variation compared to the paths of the route of the Wall previously expected. Under the new provisions, the school and the two Salesian convents that arise in the area will find themselves still in Palestinian territory, accessible from the town of Beit Jala, while the Wall will incorporate, on the Israeli side, the agricultural land of the Cremisan valley belonging to 58 Palestinian families in the area.
"We are surprised by the incredible decision of the Court that authorizes the work - says to Fides Bishop William Shomali, Patriarchal Vicar of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem - and we are trying to understand the reasons of this decision. The drastic change compared to the previous ruling may be a reaction before the recent official recognition of the State of Palestine by the Holy See. There had been no major formal reaction to that recognition. Now we feel that, as in other cases, the answer has arrived with the policy of fait accompli".
The Patriarchal Vicar for the city of Jerusalem advances also other considerations: "The impression is that it had never really given up possession of those Cremisan lands, in order to have an area in which to expand the Israeli settlements of Gilo and Har Gilo, also built on land stolen from the Palestinian town of Beit Jala".
The Cremisan valley is the main "green lung" for the population living in the Bethlehem area. The route of the separation wall built by Israel, after crossing the territory of Bethlehem, is now preparing to devastate that area, known as one of the most beautiful natural environments of the entire Holy Land. "It is clear - stated Vera Baboun, mayor of Bethlehem in the past – that the project of the route does not respond to any need for security, and seeks only to separate people from their land to confiscate them and enlarge the area of the Israeli settlements that they already occupied most of the Palestinian territories in that quadrant". According to Vera Baboun, the effect of the policy of Israeli expropriations in that delicate area of the Palestinian territories will be that "within a few years the whole area will be suppressed from the grip of the Wall, and Christians will be the first to leave". (GV) (Agenzia Fides 08/07/2015)