In our churches every Sunday, we hear about events that took place in “The Holy Land centuries ago.” This area of the world receives much attention from all three religions of “The Book”—Christian, Moslem, and Jewish. In addition, many Christians from our Valley and throughout the Western world make pilgrimages to the region each year. Often, these groups do not have the opportunity to visit the living stones—peoples who have lived in the area for centuries and who have their own rich history. Among these are Christians, whose ancestors likely knew Jesus during his sojourn on earth.
Like many Americans and Christians I support a long lasting peace in the Holy Land. I urge you and your readers to familiarize yourselves with the plight of the convent of Salesian Nuns –a group who has long resided in the Cremisan Valley. They need our help in stopping the separation barrier which will prevent them from accessing their lands and their livelihood.
Recently a decision by the Israeli Special Appeals Committee approved the routing of a separation wall that will divide the convent from its farmland and its adjacent monastery. In addition, farmers from the neighboring village will have to go through a locked gate that can only be opened by members of the Israeli army in order to work their farm land. The Salesian nuns will lose most of their lands, their livelihood, and their school, which will be surrounded on three sides by a 25-foot concrete wall.
I have personally seen the beautiful terraced fields and fertile growing area of this lovely valley. We care about this situation because we are concerned about our sisters and brothers, Palestinian and Israeli, who have been longing for peace.
Separating Catholic nuns and farmers from their property is not the way to make peace. Furthermore, these actions undermine America’s own efforts and the work of Secretary of State John Kerry to negotiate a just peace agreement between Israelis and Palestinians.
Please help spread the message that peace is possible.
Linda Hiebert Sekiguchi