CCCB intervenes with Prime Minister on Cremisan Valley

Friday, September 25, 2015

Over the past few years, the Executive Committee of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) has engaged in a careful review of the situation in the Cremisan Valley, which lies between Jerusalem and Bethlehem. Among the most recent developments is a decision by the Supreme Court of Israel to reverse its earlier judgement on the construction of a security wall in the valley. As one of his last acts as President of the CCCB, the Most Reverend Paul-André Durocher, Archbishop of Gatineau, wrote to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, asking that the Government of Canada “call on the Israeli authorities to find a just resolution” to the decision this past July by Israel’s Supreme Court. The Court’s ruling allows the military to locate a security wall in the Cremisan Valley so it cuts off 58 Palestinian Christian families from their agricultural lands.

The following statement is based on the letter that was sent to the Prime Minister and was approved by the CCCB Executive Committee at its last meeting toward the end of this past August. The letter is dated this past September 17, the day before Archbishop Durocher was succeeded as CCCB President by the Most Reverend Douglas Crosby, O.M.I., Bishop of Hamilton.

This intervention by the CCCB was developed in light of the Conference’s continued participation in the annual meetings of the Coordination of Episcopal Conferences in Support of the Church in the Holy Land, as well as in view of conversations with representatives of the Holy See and of other Christian communities, in addition to media reports together with considerations by other Catholic Bishops and also social agencies, including those serving the Israeli and the Palestinian peoples.

The intention of the CCCB in writing to the Prime Minister and issuing its statement is to help contribute toward peace and security for all Israelis and Palestinians, and to encourage dialogue and greater understanding among Christians, Jews and Muslims in the Holy Land and throughout the Middle East.

A comprehensive outline of the legal case involving the Cremisan Valley is found in The Last Nail in Bethlehem’s Coffin: The Annexation Wall in Cremisan. The text (in English only) is posted on the website of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem (http://fr.lpj.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/Cremisan-Report.pdf).

Related statements:

CCCB comment on Israeli renewed construction of security wall in Cremisan Valley, 21 August 2015:
http://www.cccb.ca/site/eng/media-room/statements-a-letters/4246-cccb-comment-on-israeli-renewed-construction-of-security-wall-in-cremisan-valley 

Statement of the Co-ordination of Bishops’ Conferences in support of the Church in the Holy Land, 15 January 2015: http://www.cccb.ca/site/images/stories/pdf/HLC_Communique_2015-01_EN_Final.pdf

CCCB President asks Minister John Baird to intervene on behalf of Cremisan Valley, near Bethlehem, 28 January 2014: http://www.cccb.ca/site/eng/media-room/statements-a-letters/3798-cccb-president-asks-minister-john-baird-to-intervene-on-behalf-of-cremisan-valley-near-bethlehem

Bishops call for leaders of hope – Holy Land Co-ordination completes visit in support of local Church and the cause of peace, 16 January 2014: http://www.cccb.ca/site/images/stories/pdf/Statement_Holy_Land_2014.pdf