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EU criticizes Israel’s renewed construction of wall in Cremisan

April 15, 2016 2:25 P.M. (Updated: April 17, 2016 5:30 P.M.)
A Palestinian youth rides his bicycle next to Israel's separation wall on the outskirts of Jerusalem. (AFP/Ahmad Gharabli, File)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- The EU mission in the occupied West Bank on Friday said they were "deeply concerned" at Israel's renewed construction of the separation wall in Bethlehem's Cremisan Valley.

The mission said that once finished, the wall would severely restrict nearly 60 Palestinian families' access to their agricultural land, likely devastating their livelihoods.

EU representatives have on several occasions visited the site of Israel's planned wall in the Palestinian valley and on Friday reminded Israel of its concern over the construction of the wall, which is considered illegal under international law.

The mission reiterated the EU's "strong opposition to Israel's settlement policy," slamming Israel's construction of the wall beyond the 1967 line, demolitions and confiscations, evictions, forced transfers, illegal outposts, settler violence, and restrictions of movement and access.

Israel's High Court of Justice in January denied a petition filed against the wall's construction by the municipality of Beit Jala village, Beit Jala's landowners, and the Silesian women's monastery in Cremisan, according to Israeli rights group B'Tselem.

The ruling came after the Israeli Ministry of Defense renewed construction work on the separation wall last August, effectively separating the villagers from their privately owned farmland in the Cremisan Valley.

This segment of the wall is intended to allow for Israel's illegal annexation of Har Gilo settlement south of Jerusalem in order to make way for its connection to Gilo settlement.

Israel began building the separation wall with concrete slabs, fences, and barbed-wire inside the occupied West Bank in 2002 at the height of the Second Intifada, claiming it was crucial for security.

Nearly 60 kilometers of the wall already cut through Bethlehem district and is built on Palestinian land, according to the UN.

Local Christian landowners in Beit Jala told an EU delegation last year that construction of the wall could ultimately force them to emigrate and "cleanse" the area of its Christian residents.
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