Israel opens 'Apartheid Road' dividing Palestinians, settlers in occupied West Bank

Postado Janeiro 11, 2019

"The road is divided in the middle by a high wall", Haaretz explained.

The opening ceremony was reportedly attended by Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Leon, Transport Minister Yisrael Katz and Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan.

He was referring to Palestinian attacks against Israelis, which in recent years have included sometimes deadly car-rammings and stabbings.

While Israeli media have reported that Palestinians with Jerusalem IDs or Israeli citizenship would be allowed to use the Israeli-side of the road to travel from Jerusalem to the West Bank, heightened security and a new checkpoint along the road have led to speculation that Palestinians, no matter what ID they carry, will be subject to discrimination by Israeli border police who man the checkpoint.

Many residents of nearby settlements work in Jerusalem.

The conflict is accompanied by frequent clashes between the two sides in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

Mohammed Abu Zaid, administrative director of the local council for Al-Zaim, a Palestinian village on the other side of the wall, fears that the journey from his village to the city will be lengthened by some eight kilometres (five miles) if the project is completed.

Palestinians are banned from using about 40 kilometers of roads within the Palestinian territory of the West Bank, while an additional 20 kilometers of roads are partially off-limits.

"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.

Israeli settlements are seen as illegal under global law and major obstacles to peace as they are built on land the Palestinians want as part of a future state.

If implemented, the southern West Bank would be completely cut off from the north, making a future contiguous Palestinian state almost impossible.

In 2002, Israel began building a security barrier separating Jerusalem from the rest of the West Bank in an bid to bolster security following the Second Intifada; Palestinians dubbed the undertaking the "apartheid road" and have repeatedly called for it to be taken down.

Infrastructure is a problem in the West Bank, where Palestinians say they have been unable to build adequate infrastructure due to Israeli restrictions.