Bethlehem's mayor to seek papal involvement in dispute over Israeli security wall
February 02, 2015
Bethlehem’s Mayor Vera Baboun plans to ask Pope Francis to intervene in a dispute over plans to extend Israel’s massive security wall through the Cremisan Valley, at the site of a convent school.
The disputed portion of the security wall, which would be built near the town of Beit Jala, is currently be reviewed by the Israeli supreme court. Israeli and Palestinian officials have been unable to reach an agreement on the appropriate placement of the barrier.
Palestinians argue that the wall, in any of the proposed locations, would either separate the school from the town where the students live, or block off access to the only green area near Bethlehem. Mayor Baboun claims that the wall would block economic development, making Bethlehem unsustainable.
Baboun will meet with Pope Francis in Rome next month, along with leaders of the neighboring Palestinian towns, and ask him to press for a change in Israel’s plans.
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