August 11, 2007

Israel's integrated apartheid road system

This article demonstrates how, for Israel, appearances are everything, substance nothing. Apparently Israel is building roads that can be used by Jews and by Arabs but in separate lanes.
Israel is constructing a road through the West Bank, east of Jerusalem, that will allow both Israelis and Palestinians to travel along it - separately.

There are two pairs of lanes, one for each group of people, separated by a tall wall of concrete patterned to look like Jerusalem stones, a beautification effort indicating that the road is meant to be permanent. The Israeli side has many exits; the Palestinian side has few.

The point of the road, according to those who planned it under former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, is to permit Israel to build more settlements around East Jerusalem, cutting the city off from the West Bank, but allowing Palestinians to travel unimpeded north and south through Israeli-held land.

"The Americans demanded from Sharon contiguity for a Palestinian state," said Shaul Arieli, a reserve colonel in the army who participated in the 2000 Camp David negotiations and specializes in maps. "This road was Sharon's answer - to build a road for Palestinians between Ramallah and Bethlehem, but not to Jerusalem. This was how to connect the West Bank while keeping Jerusalem united and not giving Palestinians any blanket permission to enter East Jerusalem."
I got this from the Mercury News but apparently it also appears in the New York Times.

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