After a visit to the Holy Land, a group of Catholic bishops from the West has issued a call for international pressure to stop the construction of an Israeli “security wall” through Palestinian land near Bethlehem.

After touring the area, the bishops of the Holy Land Coordination Group reported that the path of the wall, as current proposed, would pass through the lands of 58 Christian families in the Cremisan Valley. The wall, the said, “will destroy vineyards, groves and orchards and separate them from their land.”

Moreover, the bishops observed, the path of the wall falls outside the “green line” that demarks the internationally recognized boundaries of Israel, and into Palestinian territory. The bishops voiced concern that “this planned security wall is more about consolidating the settlement areas and permanently choking off Bethlehem from Jerusalem.”

The Holy Land Consultation has brought visiting groups of bishops from Europe, North America, and Africa to visit the Holy Land each year since 1988.