Catholic World News

Prelate urges Kerry to speak up for Palestinian Christians affected by Israeli security wall

January 30, 2014

Following his return to the United States from a visit to the Holy Land, the chairman of the Committee on International Justice and Peace of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) urged Secretary of State John Kerry to speak up for Palestinian Christians whose lands may be confiscated by Israel.

According to a February 2013 USCCB action alert, “more than 50 Palestinian families and two Salesian convents will lose their lands and their livelihoods” because of the rerouting of the Israeli West Bank barrier through the Cremisan Valley, which is located near Bethlehem.

“As I stood amidst the beauty of this agricultural valley and heard the testimony of the Christian families whose lands, livelihoods, and centuries-old family traditions are threatened, I was simply astounded by the injustice of it all,” Bishop Richard Pates of Des Moines said in his January 28 letter to Kerry. “On the eve of the Supreme Court of Israel taking up this case, I ask you once again to urge the Government of Israel to cease and desist in its efforts to unnecessarily confiscate Palestinian lands in the Occupied West Bank.”

Bishop Pates’s sentiments were echoed by bishops from 11 nations who recently visited the Holy Land.

“We recognize the right of the State of Israel to security and secure borders,” the Bishops of the Holy Land Co-ordination said in a January 28 statement. “However, the planned route of the security wall deviates sharply from the Green Line, the internationally-recognized demarcation line separating Israel and the territories captured in the six-day war of 1967.”

“We urge our governments to encourage Israel to follow international law,” they added. “In particular, for Israel to respect the livelihoods of these families and for the people of Beit Jala to be protected from further expropriation of their land and homes by Israel.”


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  • Posted by: Thomas429 - Jan. 30, 2014 11:52 PM ET USA

    I am sorry to say that this another topic that the Church should leave alone. The world seems intent on forcing Israel to return all lands that it took after being attacked in 1967. This is the definition of insecure borders. Furthermore, these lands are not going to be returned to the countries from which they were (justly) taken. They are to be made into "Palestinian" enclaves. These will be nothing but bases for missile launchers that will be used to bomb Israel. In short bad news all around