Palestinians and activists have attempted to block a newly opened road in the occupied West Bank dubbed “apartheid road”.
Dozens of protesters on Wednesday temporarily sealed the gates to the first operational section of the eastern ring road around Jerusalem.
"A new road in the West Bank that separates Palestinian and Israeli drivers was closed by protesters on Wednesday, before they were dispersed by Israeli police… https://t.co/GGuIYCRwD6
— Rima Najjar (@rima123) January 23, 2019
The road has two separate lanes divided by an eight-meter-high concrete wall – one for Palestinians who reside in the West Bank, and the other for residents of illegal Jewish settlements in the West Bank.
Two protesters have been arrested, and four others suffered injuries as Israeli forces attempted to reopen the road, local media reported.
For Palestinians, who cannot access Jerusalem without hard-to-obtain permits from the Israeli military, the road is designed to lead them to an underpass that would eventually lead to the West Bank cities of Ramallah and Bethlehem – without having to drive through Jerusalem.
— Marcia minto (@minto_marcia) January 23, 2019
For Jewish settlers, the road has granted them quicker and easier access to and from the city.
The road runs northeast of Jerusalem past the Palestinian village of Khan al-Ahmar and the Maale Adumim settlement, in an area known as E-1.
Israel has planned to annex E-1 and develop the land for as part of the “Greater Jerusalem” plan to redraw the borders of the city. Expanding Jerusalem further east would create space for settlement expansion and would connect Maale Adumim to the city.
Palestinian activists along with members of All That's Left and other Israeli and international activists protest new #apartheid road. So far, 2 have been arrested and one injured. Protestors were successful in blocking the road for around 30 minutes pic.twitter.com/rdU2HqYsJB
— CWP (@cwp_live) January 23, 2019
The annexation of E-1 would also displace thousands of Palestinians living in towns and villages in the area.
Israel occupied and annexed East Jerusalem in the aftermath of the June 1967 War, in a move that was never recognized by the international community.
— Elma Holt (@ElmaElmacholt) January 23, 2019
Since then, Israel has built more than a dozen settlements for Jewish Israelis in the eastern half of the city, some in the middle of Palestinian neighborhoods.
About 200,000 Israeli citizens live in East Jerusalem under army and police protection, with the largest single settlement complex housing 44,000 Israelis.
(AJE, PC, Social Media)