BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) --
Residents of Beit Jala held
weekly mass Friday in an area threatened by Israel's
separation wall as locals awaited a decision from Israel's
Supreme Court on an appeal to halt the land seizure.
Around 60 Palestinians, internationals and representatives of
the Catholic, Orthodox and Lutheran churches gathered on
an olive tree-covered hilltop in the Cremisan Valley to pray
for a halt to Israel's separation wall, which is set to annex
the entire lush green area north of Beit Jala.
The weekly mass, which has been held since 2011, is the
last action by the largely Christian community before Israel's
Supreme Court issues a final ruling on Jan. 29 regarding the
route of the wall.
Rev. Ibrahim Shomali, a Catholic priest who led the mass,
thanked the crowd for its support over the years and said it
was now up to the Israeli court to decide on the "future of
our presence in the Holy Land."
Issa Kassissieh, Palestine's ambassador to the Vatican,
which owns the land threatened with confiscation, told
Ma'an that the seizure was unacceptable.