An interim decision by the Israeli Supreme Court on Wednesday marked the beginning of what could become a two-tiered road system in the West Bank. With two separate legal systems for Palestinians and Israelis already in operation, critics fear segregated roads would lead toward further institutionalization of apartheid in the occupied territories.
The New York Times:
BEIT SIRA, West Bank—Ali Abu Safia, mayor of this Palestinian village, steers his car up one potholed road, then another, finding each exit blocked by huge concrete chunks placed there by the Israeli Army. On a sleek highway 100 yards away, Israeli cars whiz by.
“They took our land to build this road, and now we can’t even use it,” Mr. Abu Safia says bitterly, pointing to the highway with one hand as he drives with the other. “Israel says it is because of security. But it’s politics.”
The object of Mr. Abu Safia’s contempt—Highway 443, a major access road to Jerusalem—has taken on special significance in the grinding Israeli-Palestinian conflict. For the first time, the Supreme Court, albeit in an interim decision, has accepted the idea of separate roads for Palestinians in the occupied areas.
The Association for Civil Rights in Israel told the Supreme Court that what was happening on the highway could be the onset of legal apartheid in the West Bank—a charge that makes many Israelis recoil.
An Israeli soldier looks over Highway 443. In recent years access to this important artery into Jerusalem has been denied to Palestinians.