Israel Plans Road Connecting West Bank Settlements to Jerusalem

Illegal Jewish settlements in the West Bank. (Photo: Via Social Media)

Israel is planning to build a road connecting its illegal West Bank settlements to Jerusalem, according to Israeli media, with potential repercussions on Palestinian property rights.

The planned road, an eight kilometers-long belt originating in the Jewish outpost of Betar Ilit, would cut through Palestinian agricultural lands and potentially impact the access of farmers working these plots, as well as damaging the area’s natural landscape.

The plan is currently awaiting approval from Israel’s Civil Administration, the government body tasked with green lighting such projects.

Upon its completion, the ultra-Orthodox Jewish settlement will be connected to the Etzion bloc, a cluster of Israeli settlements south of Jerusalem, and to Jerusalem, which both Israelis and Palestinians claim as their capital.

Israel has designated an area near Betar Ilit for another settlement, Gvaot. This plan is an addition to other construction which could hamper the flow of water into the springs that enable agriculture in the area.

Natalia Averbuch, the head of the planning bureau, said the impact of the planned road on the access of Palestinian farmers to their land was unclear, according to Haaretz.

The Israeli newspaper also noted that there was no information on the environmental impact of the project, which is slated to cut through a mountainous area.

The proposal was filed four months ago and is still awaiting clarifications on the environmental and social impact, including access to land for Palestinian farmers.

Human Rights Watch has repeatedly denounced the Israeli government’s policy of boxing in Palestinian communities by restricting their access to land.

Decades of land confiscations and discriminatory planning policies have confined many Palestinians to densely populated towns and villages, while the Israeli government promotes the growth and expansion of neighboring Jewish communities.

“Israeli policy on both sides of the Green Line restricts Palestinians to dense population centers while maximizing the land available for Jewish communities,” Eric Goldstein, acting Middle East executive director at Human Rights Watch, said.

“These practices are well-known when it comes to the occupied West Bank, but Israeli authorities are also enforcing discriminatory land practices inside Israel.”

(The New Arab, PC, Social Media)

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