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Israel continues efforts to take over Cremisan area by razing Palestinian land, uprooting trees

Israel’s efforts to take over land in the Cremisan Valley, northwest of Beit Jala in the southern West Bank Bethlehem area, continued with razing Palestinian-owned land and uprooting trees, according to local activist Hasan Breijieh.

He said that bulldozers from the Israeli municipality of West Jerusalem razed 22 dunums of land in Cremisan planed with olive and almond trees as well as grape vines owned by Nasser Abed Rabbo.

He said the land owner was shocked when he came to his land this morning to find out that it was destroyed and his trees uprooted. The bulldozers have also destroyed a cave Abed Rabbo used to live in since 1967 to protect his land from Israeli takeover.

The Cremisan Valley is a rich agricultural area and includes the famous 7th century Byzantine Monastery, known as the Cremisan Monastery. It is situated between the illegal Israeli settlements of Gilo and Har Gilo built on seized Beit Jala land. In 2006, the Israeli military authorities announced an order for the construction of a separation barrier in the area.

In June 2015, after nine years of legal battles, the monastery, producer of the famous Cremisan Wine, and the 58 Palestinian landowners were shocked to learn that the Israeli High Court approved construction of the separation barrier cutting off the Cremisan Monastery from Beit Jala and Bethlehem and resulting in the loss of one of the only remaining green areas in the district, which fell behind the wall and later included in the Jerusalem municipal city s.