Road opens with segregated lanes for Israelis, Palestinians

Leroy Wright
January 13, 2019

Its western side serves Palestinians, who cannot enter Jerusalem, whereas the road's eastern side serves Israeli settlers, who can now reach the Jerusalem neighborhoods of the French Hill and Jabal al-Mukabir more easily.

Dubbed "Apartheid Road", Route 4370 links the Jewish-only Geva Binyamin Settlement to the Jerusalem-Tel Aviv highway.

Israel says the barrier is necessary for security, but for Palestinians it has become a symbol of the occupation.

Hebron and its environs are a frequent flashpoint, with the southern West Bank city divided between Israeli and Palestinian control and the two populations often coming into contact with each other.

The Times of Israel quoted PA Transportation Ministry Spokesman Mohammad Hamdan as saying that "all roads in the State of Palestine should be accessible to Palestinians".

For Tatarsky, the road is also part of a push to incorporate Israeli settlements near Jerusalem more closely into the city, he said.

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Some 450,000 settlers live in the West Bank alongside more than 2.5 million Palestinians. "This new road is absolutely unacceptable and embodies barefaced discrimination against the Palestinian people". It would essentially see the Israeli municipal boundaries of Jerusalem extend to the boundaries of Jericho.

Palestinians have long feared that the road and other similar construction projects in the area would eventually split the West Bank in half, further hindering Palestinian plans for a future state.

Its western side served Palestinian drivers, who can not enter the holy city, while the eastern side will be used by Israeli settlers who will be able to reach French Hill and Mount Scopus more easily, according to the paper.

Ir Amim, an Israeli NGO opposing Israel's settlement expansion activities, warned that the road facilitates settlers' commute at the expense of Palestinian communities.

"While legislative initiatives like the Greater Jerusalem Bill and other plans created to redraw the boundaries of the city may be stalled, infrastructure projects have already proven an effective tool for increasing connectivity between the blocs and the city, not only by solidifying physical linkages but also by eroding the boundaries of the city in the Israeli public consciousness", the group said.

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