Cremisan case: Israeli Supreme Court blocks Wall extension
COMMUNIQUE – On Thursday, April 2, 2015, after nine years of a legal battle, the Israeli Supreme Court finally issued its final verdict on the Cremisan Valley threatened since 2006 by the Separation Wall construction project. The Latin Patriarchate welcomes this verdict which falls in favor of Christians in the region.
A decision in favor of such a project would have resulted in the expropriation of land belonging to 58 Christian families in Beit Jala, and the separation of two Salesian convents.
The Supreme Court finally accepted the petition against the construction of the Wall and therefore the Israeli army will give up such a project, the Court found “harmful to the local population and the valley monasteries,” noting that “the planned route as suggested by the Israeli Ministry of Defense is not the only alternative which could ensure security and cause the least harm possible as requested by Israeli administrative law.” (Report of the Society of St.Yves).
The final decision of the Court means that the wall will not be built as foreseen by the Israeli Army. A victory and consolation for all those engaged since 2006 in a legal battle more complex.
The Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, Fouad Twal, visited Cremisan this afternoon for a press conference in the presence of the three area mayors – Bethlehem, Beit Jala and Beit Sahour – and several religious and political figures.
His Beatitude wished to thank all those who, locally and internationally, over the years committed to the Christian community in the Holy Land, including the parish of Beit Jala, the St. Yves Society, the Secretariat of State, the Bishops’ Conferences of the United States and Europe, the Consuls of Jerusalem, the Salesian Fathers, the lawyers involved and the three mayors of the region who visited the Holy Father a month ago to plead this cause.
With the huge number of those who are committed to this cause, the voice of families Cremisan could be heard on the international stage. On the Israeli side, this case has also received significant support, including from lawyers and even former soldiers and rabbis. His Beatitude welcomed “a victory for Israeli justice itself since it had the courage to take such a decision.”
He also recalled “the efficacy of prayer” and how the former pastor of Beit Jala persevered for years to celebrate, on site, the Mass every Friday in the presence of dozens of parishioners and people of all religion.
The Patriarch, on Holy Thursday, the first day of the Easter Triduum, concluded by noting that the news is “a joyful sign of the Resurrection” for the Christians of the Holy Land.