Cremisan Valley (Beit Jala) continuing to fend off annexation


PETITION — Save the valley in Cremisan: Support bridges, not walls!
(January 2013)
To sign the petition, please see:

This petition is started by the Society of St Yves, Jerusalem. The Society of St. Yves is the Catholic Center for Human Rights of the Latin Patriarchate in the Holy Land. It was founded in 1991 by the former Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem and the Holy Land, Michel Sabbah, to help “the poor and the oppressed” according to the social doctrine of the Catholic Church.

Cremisan Valley. Note Route 60 in background (Photo BBC 3 May 2012).

The Cremisan valley is situated between the Gilo settlement of Jerusalem and the Israeli settlement Har Gilo, near Bethlehem. The valley remains one of the last green areas in the Bethlehem district with vast stretches of agricultural lands and recreational grounds. Within the valley, are the Salesian Sisters Convent and School, the Salesian Monastery and its Cremisan Cellars, as well as 58 families that risk losing their lands. The main convent and monastery, are part of the Salesian order, founded by Don Bosco.

Cremisan Valley (Beit Jala) nestled between Gilo and Har Gilo (Photo: BBC, 3 May 2012)

The court case to save Cremisan Valley

On the 12th of February 2013, the final court hearing for the Cremisan case was held in front of the Special Appeals Committee in the Magistrate Court in Tel Aviv. The court hearing lasted for almost 6 hours and ended with no decision by the court.

This final hearing took place after a series of court sessions that started in 2006, when the plans for the construction of the wall were submitted and the military seizure orders for the Cremisan Valley lands were handed over.

Among those who attended was the Latin Bishop William Al-Shomali, and Beit Jala’s Mayor Dr. Nael Salman along with the land owners. Representatives from the French Embassy, the German Embassy, UNRWA, the Norwegian Refugee Council and a representative from the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs also attended. St. Yves lawyer Advocate Manal Hazzan-Abu Sinni and the lawyer representing the land owners Advocate Ghayyath Nasser presented their proceedings and highlighted the damage building the wall will cause to the Christian Community, the Silsian School and Beit Jala. The state attorney replied by denying that any damage will be caused.

The session ended with no decision by the court, it will be issued after the committee reviewed the documents of the seven years lasting case.

For a statement by the Society of St Yves: Catholic Center for Human Rights, Jerusalem on the Cremesan valley case.

Documentary on Cremisan Valley and the effect of Israeli colonisation

For a detailed documentary that describes the effect of the Israeli separation barrier, settlements like Gilo and Har Homa and settler freeways like Route 60 on the Cremesan Valley and Bethlehem, see:

Peter Nagle, “Sacred Space  Denied: Bethlehem and the Wall” (Part 1), 2005.

Peter Nagle, “Sacred Space Denied: Bethlehem and the Wall” (Part 2)

For a detailed summary of the film, see:

Peter Nagle,  ‘Sacred Space Denied’, Part 1, 2005

Peter Nagle,  ‘Sacred Space Denied’, Part 2, 2005

Videos – on Cremesan valley, Bethlehem
AlJazeera English, “Israel plan to wall off West Bank land defied”12 February 2013

Land confiscation
Together with the Wall and a system of bypass roads for exclusive Israeli settler use, confiscation of land, and movement restrictions on Palestinians, these illegal actions have completely encircled the Bethlehem District and shrunk it to barely 13% of its original size.

PLO Negotiation Office, ‘Bethlehem and Jerusalem: Israel’s policy of isolation and disconnection’, December 2011’S%20POLICY%20OF%20ISOLATION%20AND%20DISCONNECTION.pdf

AlJazeeraEnglish, ‘Walls of Shame: West Bank’ – 19 November 2007 – Part 2

Yael Dayan , Deputy Mayor of Tel Aviv and daughter of Moshe Dayan.
“Instead of becoming an obstacle to terrorists, it became an obstacle to peace… It is a provocation…It became a political statement and adds bad deep feelings of occupation… From international speaking, it does not have legality, where it splits population.”

Eliezer Cohen, Knesset member and former decorated pilot
It is “naivety and stupidity building the wall…We are building a ghetto for ourselves.”

Akiva Eldar
“The Settlers wall… Maximum settlers, minimum Arab population in Israel.”

Yolande Knell, ‘Bethlehem nuns in West Bank barrier battle’, 3 May 2012


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