The 2.8 million Palestinians of the occupied West Bank are now gaining their very own segregated (and visibly inferior) road system– in a way that is completely reliant, for any inter-city connectivity it provides, on a chain of tunnels and under-passes that the IOF can easily choke off at will.
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Nadia Hijab and Jesse Rosenfeld have an excellent article on this new portion of the Israeli-engineered apartheid system in the OPTs, in the current issue of The Nation.
- armed with information from United Nations sources and their own research, Palestinian nongovernmental organizations are raising the alarm. Their evidence spotlights the extent to which PA road-building is facilitating the Israeli goal of annexing vast areas of the West Bank–making a viable Palestinian state impossible.
Roads currently under construction in the Bethlehem governorate are a prime example, as they will complete the separation of the Gush Etzion settlement bloc, which includes some of the earliest Israeli settlements, from the Palestinian West Bank, swallowing up more pieces of Bethlehem on the way. The PA is building these roads with funding from the US Agency for International Development and thus ultimately the US taxpayer.
Bethlehem Palestinians had not grasped the implications of the PA-USAID road construction until a meeting organized last month by Badil, the refugee rights group. Representatives of local councils, refugee camps, governorate offices and NGOs were shocked by the information presented, and are calling for a halt to road construction until risks are assessed.
Anyway, go read the whole of this superb, informative article. It has a link to this helpful short slideshow from Badil. You can gain further information on how this issue is working out in the bethlehem governorate issue through these English-language presentations from the UN’s Office of the Coordinator for Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)– PDF and PPT. Arabic and Hebrew-language versions are also available through the OCHA website.