A new Israeli-planned road, ostensibly meant to give the Cremisan Monastery access to Israel and Jerusalem, will cut off the Bethlehem-area village of al-Walaja from its lands. Its lands were taken and villagers displaced in first in 1948; in recent years Israel began completely surrounding it with the separation wall, taking even more land. Village resident Hisham Abu Ali is done being silent.
Text by: Anne Paq and Hisham Abu Ali
In September 2013, inhabitants of al-Walaja witnessed the start of the building of a new road on their lands. The road is said to ensure access to Jerusalem from the Cremisan Monastery which would find itself on the other side of the Israeli separation wall (i.e., on the “Jerusalem side”) if it is built as currently planned. There is still a pending court case, however, filed in the name of Beit Jala residents and the Salesian Sisters who have a convent and a school next to the Cremisan Monastery, in regards to wall’s route (see petition by Saint Yves organization). The result of this legal battle, which will be taken to the Israeli High Court next month, will determine the access points of the Cremisan Monastery to Jerusalem and the West Bank.
Following a lower court decision on the route of the wall in April 2013, Fouad Twal, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, made the following statement: “We remind Israeli decision-makers that the expropriation of land does not serve the cause of peace and does not strengthen the position of the moderates.”
However, according to a Haaretz report, initial plans for the separation barrier in the area “that put the monastery on the Israeli side were drawn up in 2005, in consultation with the Defense Ministry, the Vatican and its local monasteries.” According to the same article, in 2012 the monks announced that they wanted to stay...Read More