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stranger81's Journal
Posted by stranger81 in Israel/Palestine
Wed Mar 26th 2008, 05:19 PM
BEIT SIRA, West Bank: Ali Abu Safia, the 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 about 100 meters away, Israeli cars whiz by.

"They took our land to build this road, and now we can't even use it," 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 Abu Safia's contempt - Highway 443, a major access road to Jerusalem - has taken on special significance in the rinding Israeli-Palestinian conflict. For the first time, Israel's 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 is happening on the highway could be the onset of legal apartheid in the West Bank, a charge that makes many Israelis recoil.

Built largely on private Palestinian land, the road was first challenged in the Supreme Court in the early 1980s when the justices, in a landmark ruling, permitted it because the army said its primary function was to serve the local Palestinians, not Israeli commuters. In recent years, in the wake of stone-throwing and several drive-by shootings, Israel has blocked access to the road to Palestinians.

This month, as some 40,000 Israeli cars - and almost no Palestinians - use it daily, the court handed down its decision, one that has engendered much legal and political hand-wringing.

"There is already a separate legal system in the territories for Israelis and Palestinians," said Limor Yehuda, who argued the case for the civil rights association on behalf of six Palestinian villages. "With the approval of separate roads, if it becomes a widespread policy, then the word for it will be 'apartheid.' "

http://www.iht.com/articles/2008/03/26/mid...
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stranger81
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