Original posting (Feb. 27, 2013): A court in Israel is due to hear final arguments on the construction of a separation wall in a pristine valley in the West Bank. Lawyers representing Palestinian landowners and a convent say if the wall is built they will lose their land and the convent will be surrounded.
Please click here to watch a news story on al-Jazeera. Note that Mr. Nader Abu Amsha, who is featured in the news story, is Executive Director of Global Ministries' partner, the YMCA's Rehabilitation Program, based in Beit Sahour, near Bethlehem in the West Bank. He lives in Beit Jala, another neighboring community.
For more on this story, click here.
UPDATE (April 29, 2013): Monastery to be severed from convent by West Bank barrier (Ha'aretz): A Salesian monastery and convent will be severed from one another by the barrier separating Israel and the Palestinian territories, after an Israeli court last week rejected a petition for a planned portion of the barrier to be rerouted. The ruling was made public on Saturday.
Putting Cremisan Valley on the Pope's agenda (Ha'aretz): For decades the monks and nuns of the Cremisan Valley, between Bethlehem and Jerusalem, have been organic to the local Palestinian community.
The nuns run a primary school for needy Palestinian children and the monks operate the only winery made with Palestinian grapes. Locals say the valley housing the convent and monastery, where families love to stroll and picnic, are also the most important green space in the Bethlehem area.
Yet last Wednesday a civil court ruling made it legal for Israel’s separation fence to divide the valley.
The Special Appeals Committee of the Tel Aviv Magistrate's Court approved land appropriation for the barrier along a route that would annex about 75 percent of the convent's property, the convent’s lawyer, Manal Hazzan abu Sinni, told Haaretz.
The route will also annex farmland of 58 Palestinian families to Israeli territory, she claims, and vows to appeal to the High Court of Justice.