Msgr. Marcuzzo: Security is a pretext for the Israeli army to occupy lands
The Latin Patriarchate protests ownership of properties in the northern Jordan valley. For over 40 years it has been used as a training camp; the appeals in court were declared null and void. Vicar of Jerusalem: Rumors of diseases and deaths among civilians, even children, caused by the weapons used in the exercises.
Jerusalem (AsiaNews) - The Israeli military, under the pretext of "security and national interest", act in a sort of "impunity" against which one can "do nothing", not even resort to court, denounces Msgr. Giacinto-Boulos Marcuzzo, patriarchal vicar of Jerusalem, commenting on the decision of the Israeli Army to persist in the occupation of the Church's lands in the northern Jordan Valley.
Yesterday, the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem officially challenged the decision of the military authorities to continue the occupation, after receiving an official communication from the army the day before. There are thousands of square meters of land used as a training ground. So far, appeals to the courts have been null and void.
The occupied land is located near the Palestinian villages of Tayasir and Bardala, in the northern part of the Jordan Valley. Inside the camp today you can find masonry buildings used by the military, allocated for decades in the area. For Palestinian, Christian and Muslim associations and NGOs it is about embezzlement and violation of international law, as well as a threat to dozens of families in the area, who risk deportation under the pretext of security.
For the patriarchal vicar of Jerusalem, the land was requisitioned "without any agreement or official rental contract". The Israeli military, he adds, "have occupied the land since 1975, they have taken possession of it and exploited it without a deed of sale or a lease, renewing its use without paying anything".
"We, as a Church - explains mgr. Marcuzzo - want them to leave, but they remain there, regardless of our protests. They use land for military exercises and this is a source of further discomfort. In the area there are villages and families, there is talk of numerous deaths due to the explosions and dust contained within the weapons used in the exercises. There are rumors of dispersal of chemical agents and diseases and sudden deaths among the population of the area, including children ".
"We will continue with our protest - assures the prelate - even if we have our hands tied and we cannot do anything. We have tried in the past, but for over 40 years every attempt has been blocked. The court itself cannot decide on the controversy, because the military uses the pretext of national security and internal interests that supersede all rulings ". "We are facing a clear violation of people's rights - he concludes - and this is the most serious fact".