The Salesian community in the Holy Land is contesting a section of the Israeli West Bank barrier that will cut the Cremisan monastery off from its Palestinian neighbors.

The Salesian community in the Holy Land is contesting a section of the Israeli West Bank barrier that will cut the Cremisan monastery off from its Palestinian neighbors.

Father Giovanni Laconi, vice provincial of the Salesian Province of the Middle East, released a statement Friday that protests the continuation of the barrier currently under construction in Beit Jala, some of which will be built on Salesian land.

The West Bank barrier is a wall being constructed by Israel with the stated aim of keeping terrorists from the area. It is located mainly within the West Bank.

Beit Jala, located 6 miles to the south of Jerusalem, is part of greater Bethlehem.

Father Laconi said in his note that the "Salesian Community, victim of a one-sided decision by Israeli authorities, firmly takes a stand against the policy of unilateral separation, reaffirms its complete extraneousness to the planning of the track of the wall and, at the same time, appeals to all competent authorities to engage for the re-establishment of international law."

The International Court of Justice said in an advisory opinion in July 2004 that the wall is "contrary to international law."

The section of the barrier in question will be built partially on Salesian property where it borders a Palestinian village, Al-Walajeh, which will be cut off from Jerusalem and the neighboring monastery, said the statement published by the Salesian Information Agency.

"The entire track of the wall, including the section involving the property of Cremisan, has been set in complete autonomy by Israeli authorities," according to the statement.

It adds: "The heads of the Salesian community — who have always been open to dialogue with the local Palestinians, to whom they have often provided several services of social utility — wish to renew their deepest solidarity to the [Palestinian] village of Al-Walajeh and to the whole Palestinian population still enduring the hardships of occupation.

"At the same time they express their heartfelt hope that every wall among peoples may fall, for a future of peace."