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Las Cruces Bishop Oscar Cantu finds conflict in Middle East

According to Facebook posts on the Roman Catholic Diocese of Las Cruces page, Bishop Oscar Cantu was “run off” the land by Israeli police while visiting the Middle East.

On Saturday, the diocese posted a picture of the Cremisan Valley in Palestine. The post stated that a group of bishops, including Cantu, were visiting the area, adding, “The situation is anything but peaceful as Israel is building a separation wall cutting off owners from their land, thus confiscating yet more Palestinian land.”

According to the National Catholic Report, the Cremisan Valley “is a stretch of fertile land on the border between the Weston Bank and Jerusalem.”

The valley is one of the last green areas in the Jerusalem area with large amounts of agriculture and recreational land.

The National Catholic Report states that since 2006 the Israel Defense Force has been building a separation wall to divide Jerusalem from the West Bank. According to the IDF the wall is being built as an effort to prevent terrorist attacks.

Another picture was posted Saturday showing a police vehicle with the following text: “The Israeli police ran my fellow bishops and me out of the Cremisan Valley as we brought attention to this confiscation of land and encroachment on Palestinian territory.”

Moments later another post from the diocese showed the Cremisan Valley, adding, “The land of 59 Christian families is effectively confiscated by the Isreali government. No wonder why the numbers of Christians has diminished precipitously in the last decades in the Holy Land, the land they have inhabited for 2,000 years!”

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