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Road opens with segregated lanes for Israelis, Palestinians

By Allen Cone
Road opens with segregated lanes for Israelis, Palestinians
Cars drive on the Israeli side (R) and Palestinians side (L) of a road that is separated by a concrete wall connecting the West Bank and Jerusalem on Thursday. Photo by Abir Sultan/EPA

Jan. 10 (UPI) -- Israel opened a new road Thursday in the occupied West Bank with segregated lanes for Israeli and Palestinian drivers.

Branded as an "apartheid road," Route 4370 features a concrete wall 5 feet tall that serves as a barrier that separates Palestinian communities from a Jewish-only settlement northeast of Jerusalem, Haaretz reported.

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Most users will be residents of the settlements established on land north of Jerusalem, Haaretz reported.

The 2.2-mile road connects the settlement of Giv'at Binyamin to the Tel Aviv-Jerusalem road between the junction of the French Hill and the tunnel leading to Mount Masharaf.

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Two weeks ago, the western side opened in front of the Palestinian residents area, which will prevent them from entering Jerusalem. Instead, Palestinian drivers will travel on the Palestinian side of the road around Jerusalem from the east, without being allowed to enter.

The road was built more than a decade ago but didn't open because of dispute between the army and the police over the staffing of a new checkpoint.

Many segregated roads are in the West Bank, but none divided along its entire length by a wall.

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Israeli Communications Minister Yisrael Katz said the road is "a model of the possibility of creating a shared life between Israelis and Palestinians, by maintaining existing security challenges."

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The Palestinian Foreign Ministry condemned the opening of the road. "The opening of this road comes within the framework of Israel's ongoing efforts to undermine any chance of reaching a political solution," the ministry said in a Thursday statement obtained by the Daily Sabah. "Israel continues to impose an apartheid regime in occupied Palestine."

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