More than a year ago I signed a petition on Change.org, petitioning the Israeli authorities to “Save the valley in Cremisan: Support bridges, not walls.”
When prompted to write a reason for signing, I wrote:
“Our friends in Israel could clearly express their desire for reconciliation and security for all who live in the land by a decision NOT to build this section of the fence/wall in the Cremisan valley as it is proposed. Just think of the good public relations message that the Israeli government would put out and the good will that they would spread by making it known that they want the Christians to stay, that they want the people of Beit Jala to have a green space in which to rest and play, that they want the people of the area to have access to water, that they do not want the farmers to lose their livelihood, and that they want the children of the valley to feel safe and secure enough to live and learn as all children deserve – by making it known that they will NOT build that proposed wall/fence through the valley of Cremisan. The Israelis and the Israel government have an opportunity here that they do not often have to put their actions where their words are and their hearts where their minds are. An international audience would hear the message. Not building the wall/fence in the Cremisan Valley along the proposed route is a win-win situation for both the Israelis and the Palestinians, and especially for the children on both sides of that fence/wall that now divides them.”
This post appeared on August 8 on the Facebook page of the Society of St. Yves:
The Israeli Supreme Court informed today of its decision on the route of the separation wall in the Cremisan valley in Beit Jala, following the hearing which was held on August 4th, 2014.
The Court decided that as to Israel’s suggested route of the wall, Israel must take into consideration different possibilities by which both Salesian convents in Cremisan are taken in and included within the Palestinian side of the wall. The Court gave Israel until September 4th, 2014 to respond to its decision.
As such, St. Yves’ lawyer Zvi Avni, representing the Salesian Nuns Monestary in Cremisan said today that: “The Court’s decision cannot be considered a final ruling on the case. However, it is a sign that the Court has taken into consideration the importance of respecting religious rights and freedoms and the unity of the Salesian convents”.
The wall being built through the land and homes of Palestinian communities dividing families, isolating them from their farmland and their livelihoods, and cutting off religious institutions, has continually been condemned by international legal institutions. Notably On July 9, 2004, the International Court of Justice found the separation wall to be illegal under international law and international humanitarian law.
It is not finished yet, but this is a reason for singing!