Road near Jerusalem puts wall between Israelis, Palestinians

The new highway dubbed “Apartheid Road” in Jerusalem

Head of Palestinian Authority (PA) Colonization and Settlement Resistance Commission Walid Assaf Thursday slammed Israeli new roads with a dividing wall as "racist".

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 western side serves Palestinians who can not enter Jerusalem, while the eastern side is reserved for Israeli settlers".

The road was constructed over a decade ago but remained closed amid a dispute between the Israeli military and police over a checkpoint.

Palestinian officials and activists on the other hand have condemned the road as an example of Israeli apartheid and racism against Palestinians.

Its western side serves Palestinians, who cannot enter Jerusalem, whereas the road's eastern side serves Israeli settlers, who can now reach the Jerusalem neighborhoods of the French Hill and Jabal al-Mukabir more easily.

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The Palestinian Foreign Ministry said in a press statement that the new Israeli plan "undermines the credibility of the global community and the possibility to reach a political solution to the conflict".

The "Apartheid Road" has been years in the making, and according to rights groups, and is about much more than just easing traffic for settlers travelling to Jerusalem.

The new 5-kilometer Route 4370, also known as the "Easter Ring Route" is a four lane route: two lanes for Israeli settlers travelling from the West Bank into Jerusalem, and two lanes circumventing around the borders of Jerusalem for Palestinians with West Bank IDs.

Ir Amim, an Israeli NGO opposing Israel's settlement expansion activities, warned that the road facilitates settlers' commute at the expense of Palestinian communities.

Jerusalem al-Quds is already separated from the West Bank by the so-called Israeli "apartheid wall".

About 600,000 Israelis live in over 230 settlements built illegally since the 1967 occupation of the Palestinian territories.

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