On Monday, Israeli bulldozers arrived on private properties in Beir Ona, near the Cremisan Valley, to resume construction of the controversial separation wall.
The Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem has condemned the move and has called on the Israeli authorities to down tools and await the decision of the Supreme Court on a petition submitted by the families of the Valley a few days ago.
Here is the statement from the Patriarchate:
On Monday morning, August 17, Israeli bulldozers arrived unannounced on private properties in Beir Ona, near the Cremisan Valley, to resume construction of the separation wall. The residents of the area were surprised and felt the pain of the loss of about fifty of their centuries-old olive trees that were uprooted.
The Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem strongly condemns this Israeli conducted operation, which is without regard to the rights of the families of the valley; the rights that these same families have bravely tried to defend before the law over the past decade. We join with the sorrow and frustration of these oppressed families, and we strongly condemn the injustice done to them.
The construction of the Separation Wall and the confiscation of lands of the local families are threats and insults to peace. We call on the Israeli authorities to await the decision on the petition submitted by the families of the Valley to the Supreme Court of Israel a few days ago and to stop the work that has been started.
England and Wales
Bishop Declan Lang, chair of the Department for International Affairs of the episcopal conference of England and Wales, issued a statement on the construction in Cremisan:
"I add my voice to that of His Beatitude Patriarch Twal in condemning the latest move by the Israeli authorities to displace the people of Cremisan from their land and threatening their livelihoods.
"The action of the IDF [Israel Defense Forces] in bulldozing olive trees to prepare for the construction of the separation barrier is a cruel blow to the hopes raised by the recent Supreme Court ruling.
"I urge the Israeli authorities to stop construction and reconsider urgently their approach to the people of the Cremisan valley which has caused such grave injustice.
"As always my prayers and thoughts are with the people who are facing this unjust and difficult situation and who are seeking peace in the midst of this conflict."