Israelis, Palestinians segregated on new highway

Israel opens segregated highway dubbed 'Apartheid Road'

The Palestinian Foreign Ministry has condemned a decision by the Israeli authorities to open a road that separates Palestinian communities from a Jewish-only illegal settlement northeast of Jerusalem.

Its western side served Palestinian drivers, who can not enter the holy city, while the eastern side will be used by Israeli settlers who will be able to reach French Hill and Mount Scopus more easily, according to the paper.

The opening ceremony was reportedly attended by Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Leon, Transport Minister Yisrael Katz and Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan.

But a Palestine Liberation Organisation official joined others who have called it "the first apartheid road" and voiced fears it could create a precedent.

"It's a shame on the worldwide community to see an apartheid regime being established and deepened without doing anything to stop it", the PA statement read.

Earlier Tuesday, Israeli daily Haaretz confirmed that Israel was planning to build a major settlement neighborhood in the occupied West Bank.

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However, the Palestinian government has no jurisdiction over Israelis in the West Bank, and violent acts carried out by Israeli settlers often occur in the presence of Israeli military forces who rarely act to protect Palestinian residents.

The long-term goal is to provide settlers with another route to allow them to access Jerusalem more directly, said Aviv Tatarsky of Israeli NGO Ir Amim, which opposes settlement expansion.

He warned that this road plan could lead to the expulsion of Khan Al-Ahmar village and more than 21 other Palestinian communities.

Ahmed Mohammed al-Qaysi, a Palestinian driver for the Al-Zaim local council, does not have permission from Israel to cross the separation barrier and enter Jerusalem, like many Palestinians in the West Bank. In this case, however, the wall separates the whole route.

"The road is divided in the middle by a high wall", Haaretz explained.

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