Christian Palestinians to Pope, help us block wall

Israeli barrier eating up land, monks' wine company

29 April, 19:03

    Protest by activists against Israel's controversial separation barrier in the West Bank Protest by activists against Israel's controversial separation barrier in the West Bank

    (ANSAmed) - RAMALLAH - In an open letter to Pope Francis who is scheduled to meet Israeli President Shimon Peres on Tuesday, the Christian Palestinian community of Beit Jala asked for his intervention against the construction of an Israeli defense wall in the Cremisan Valley in the West Bank.

    'We are a Christian village called Beit Jala near the city of Bethlehem', read the letter. 'We are threatened by the construction of the famous separation barrier which Israel's military occupation means to build by dispossessing most Christian Palestinian lands with the objective of separating Bethlehem and other areas from Jerusalem and other holy sites.

    Up until today Israel has confiscated two thirds of our lands'.

    The letter to the pontiff said that for over a year the Christian community 'has been meeting every Friday in these lands to pray for a positive solution to this issue'. The confiscation, the letter said, 'would dispossess 58 families of their land, and would take away the land of a nursery school managed by Salesian nuns and land owned by a convent of Salesian monks and its winemaking company for a total of 1200 hectares'.

    The letter, which follows a recent ruling by an Israeli court allowing the continuation of construction of the separation barrier and the expropriation of land owned by the two Salesian convents in the Cremisan Valley cites a decision of the International Court of Justice urging all member states not to recognize the situation resulting from the construction of the Israeli separation barrier in agreement with the 1949 Geneva Convention. (ANSAmed)

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