In first, Israel opens road with wall dividing Israeli and Palestinian traffic

Israel says new route eases traffic, strengthens connection between Jerusalem and settlements; Palestinians say it ’embodies barefaced discrimination’

Route 4370, with a wall dividing Israeli and Palestinian traffic,

Times of Israel reports, “Israel opened a road in the West Bank on Thursday morning with a physical barrier separating Israeli and Palestinian traffic, the first of its kind, drawing accusations of racism from Palestinian officials. Israel’s Transportation Ministry said the road, including its security provisions, provided “a solution for all populations, Israeli and Palestinian.”

“The newly inaugurated, five-kilometer Route 4370 is divided down its length by a concrete wall topped with fencing. Two lanes of the road connect the Geva Binyamin settlement, also known as Adam, north of Jerusalem, to the city’s French Hill neighborhood — and are open to Israeli vehicles and to Palestinians who have entry permits for Jerusalem. The other two lanes branch off and lead around the east and south of the city, without access to Jerusalem itself, and are for vehicles of Palestinians who do not have access permits for Jerusalem, according to a statement from the Binyamin Regional Council.”

Israeli border police guard a newly opened checkpoint on Route 4370, which separates Israeli and Palestinian traffic with an eight-meter wall

“There are other divided roads in the West Bank, but none with a wall separating the two categories. The opening of the road drew swift condemnation from rights groups, the Palestinian Authority and the PLO. “This is an Israeli example of apartheid and racist separation that once existed in South Africa. Any Israeli who believes in democracy should feel ashamed about this new road,” PLO Executive Committee member Ahmad Majdalani told The Times of Israel.” (more…)

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