Sunday, 24 March, 2019

Israel rounds up 18 Palestinians in occupied West Bank

The separation wall in the West Bank. Montecruz The separation wall in the West Bank. Montecruz
Jeannette Daniel | 13 January, 2019, 15:42

Israel opened a new road Thursday in the occupied West Bank with segregated lanes for Israeli and Palestinian drivers.

Hebron and its environs are a frequent flashpoint, with the southern West Bank city divided between Israeli and Palestinian control and the two populations often coming into contact with each other.

The roughly 3.5km stretch, which was inaugurated on Wednesday, features an eight-meter high wall that puts Palestinian drivers, who are banned from entering the city, on the western side and Israeli settlers on the eastern side.

"This is an Israeli example of apartheid and racist separation that once existed in South Africa", PLO Executive Committee member Ahmad Majdalani told Israeli media.

He warned that this road plan could lead to the expulsion of Khan Al-Ahmar village and more than 21 other Palestinian communities.

More news: China retailers slash iPhone prices after Apple sales warning

The Palestinian Foreign Ministry, in turn, lashed out at Israel's decision to open the highway, which the ministry claimed "comes within the framework of Israel's ongoing efforts to undermine any chance of reaching a political solution".

Israel occupied the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, during the 1967 Arab-Israeli War.

Israeli NGO Ir Amim said in a press release that the road was the "brainchild" of former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, and was created to "solve the dilemma of E-1 splitting the West Bank into northern and southern enclaves by using road infrastructure to preserve a semblance of contiguity between Ramallah and Bethlehem".

Israeli officials say the road will ease heavy traffic in the Jerusalem area for residents of settlements in the West Bank, occupied by Israel for more than 50 years.

The International Court of Justice said in 2004 that the apartheid wall violated international law and urged Israel to remove it.

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