Statement by the SACBC on the Extension of the Separation Barrier in the Cremisan Valley

This is what the LORD Almighty says: ‘Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another’ (Zech 7:9).
The Catholic Bishops of Southern Africa, gathered in Mariannhill for their plenary session, are saddened and  dismayed to learn of the recent decision by the Israeli Supreme Court to allow the Separation Barrier to be built in the Cremisan Valley.

The extension of the Separation Barrier will severely affect the livelihoods and the quality of life of 58 Christian families, whose land and olive orchards have been in their families for  generations. Furthermore, it will separate them from the spiritual and pastoral care of the Salesian Sisters and the Monastery both of which which will remain in Palestinian territory.

The extension of the Barrier will be a further encroachment on Palestinian lands close to Bethlehem, squeezing the population once again into a smaller area. The building of the barrier on Palestinian territory is arguably illegal in international law – most certainly it places more obstacles in the way of finding peace in the Middle East and contributes to further destabilization of the whole region.

We believe that peace can only be achieved by seeking justice for all. The separation of peoples through walls and barriers can only further divide and anger people, and will not contribute to peace. We call on all leaders in the Holy Land to work for peace by seeking justice, and to show mercy and compassion to one another.  We express our solidarity and support for the Patriarch of Jerusalem, His Beatitude Faoud Twal, his auxiliary bishops and all the suffering peoples of the Holy Land.

Furthermore, we hold all people of the Middle East in our hearts and in our prayers.

Archbishop Stephen Brislin
President of the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference.

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