Urge Congress to press Israel to stop confiscation of Christian lands in Cremisan Valley
The Holy Land is a place of great spiritual importance for Jews, Christians and Muslims. In recent decades it has also been the site of great conflict that takes a devastating toll on all who live there and contributes to instability in the region. Recognizing the importance of bringing peace to the Holy Land, the U.S. Government has repeatedly advocated for negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians.
The path to peace in the Holy Land requires respect for the human rights and dignity of both Israelis and Palestinians. People of good will on both sides of the conflict want the same thing, a dignified life worthy of the human person. Israelis should not have to live in fear of Hamas' indiscriminate rocket attacks on civilian areas. At the same time, Palestinians should not have to live in fear for their lives from air and ground attacks or to suffer the humiliations of occupation. USCCB has worked with Jewish, Christian and Muslim religious leaders in the United States to make a just peace between Israelis and Palestinians a top priority of US foreign policy.
In August 2015, Israel's Supreme Court granted approval for the building of a separation barrier through the pristine Cremisan Valley. The Cremisan Valley lies in the West Bank on the Palestinian side of the Green Line, adjacent to Beit Jala and Bethlehem. The separation barrier through the Cremisan Valley will have devastating effects for the local community, confiscating Palestinian agricultural and recreational lands of over 50 Christian families. This threatens the livelihoods of the remaining Christian community of Bethlehem, pressuring even more to leave the Holy land. The barrier will also separate two Salesian institutions from their ministries.
The situation in the Cremisan Valley is a microcosm of a protracted pattern that seriously jeopardizes the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has long supported a two-state solution, secure and recognized Israel living in peace alongside a viable and independent Palestinian state.
USCCB asks you to urge Congress to press Israeli authorities to stop the work on the Separation Wall in the Cremisan Valley. As the wall moves and constricts more and more communities in the West Bank, the possibility of a future two-state resolution becomes less likely, putting both Palestinians and Israeli citizens at risk.
See Bishop Oscar Cantu's August 24, 2015 Letter to Secretary of State John Kerry Protesting the Confiscation of Land in the Cremisan Valley in which he wrote, the actions taken towards the building of the separation wall there "undermine the cause of peace and impair the possibility of a two state solution."[-] less
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