CREMISAN – Here below is the press release of the Society of St. Yves about the Court Decision approving the building of a separation wall in the Cremisan Valley.
The Israeli Special Appeals Committee for land seizure under
emergency law released its verdict last Wednesday 24/04/2013, in the
case of the Cremisan Valley against the separation wall. The verdict
ruled in favor of the proposed second route which leaves the convent on
the Palestinian side of the wall. With this decision the appeals
submitted by Advocate Ghayyath Nasser who represented the land owners in
the Cremisan Valley and the lawyer of the Society of St. Yves, Advocate
Manal Hazzan-Abu Sinni, who represented the nuns of the Salesian
Convent, were all together rejected. The decision came out two months
after the final hearing on 12th of February and after seven years of
The committee decided that building the separation wall according to
the alternative route, which will surround the Salesian Nuns Convent and
Primary School from three sides and will confiscate most of the
convent’s lands, is a reasonable solution that balances Israel’s
security needs on one hand, and freedom of religion and the right to
education on the other.
The Society of St. Yves was initially successful in changing the
primary course of the wall, by which the Convent and the School will
remain on the Palestinian side of the wall. Still the Society of St.
Yves sees the verdict as highly problematic and unjust as it doesn’t
even discuss the violation of freedom of religion, the right to
education as well as the economical damage caused for a unique Christian
minority in Beit Jala by the construction of the wall.
In the decision it is emphasized that the nuns were allowed to join
the case at a late stage, which resulted in altering the primary
suggested route of the wall and which wolud left the convent on the
Israeli side. Through the new route the school and the convent are not
separated from Beit Jala anymore. By approving the alternative route the
educational mission of the school will not be affected as the street
leading to the compound will remain open. The committee also declared
that the claims regarding future expansion of the school and convent are
weak arguments which have no legal implications as they were not backed
by plans or maps approved by the authorities.
Furthermore, the committee considered that the agricultural gate that
is planned to be established near the convent will allow passage of the
nuns and monks to the Salesian Monks Monastery on the other side of the
wall which will guarantee their right of freedom of religion. The gate
would also allow farmers and landowners to access their lands,
especially that the State has declared in front of the committee to be
flexible in issuing permits.
The committee has ignored all testimonies and claims of the
landowners regarding the damage caused to their land by building the
wall and the fact that it will separate them from their lands.
The committee ignored all references and arguments based on
international law like the protection of religious minorities. It also
rejected the expert opinion given by Professor Judy Green on the
environmental damage to the valley which would be caused by building the
Finally, the committee concluded that its authority is only to decide
on one and a half kilometer of the separation wall. Thus it sees no
possibility of refusing the proposed alternative route as it lies not in
its responsibility to approve the proposed route by the landowners and
the nuns beneath Gilo as this would actually mean the dismantling of the
adjacent, already built parts of the wall.
St. Yves will consider taking the case to the High Court. A translation of the verdict to English will follow.
Society of St. Yves
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