Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Amrousi on Apartheid Roads

Emily Amrousi on those "apartheid roads".  From her

The real apartheid is Palestinian

A well-known radio broadcaster recently told me that, as a 'settler', I am fine and my arguments may also be convincing. The problem, he said, is the "occupation."...He asked me to consider what I would think if I were a Palestinian and someone told me that I could not drive on certain highways.

One can't even begin to confront this claim without starting with the firm truth that there are no apartheid highways here....There are no highways anywhere in Judea and Samaria which Palestinians are forbidden from driving on, but which Jews are allowed to use...if there is such a thing as an "apartheid highway," it would refer to highways closed only to Jews.

About three years ago, the High Court heard two highway-related petitions in just one week. One of the petitions was submitted by Palestinians requesting permission to use the Jerusalem-Tel Aviv highway, #443. The other petition was submitted by Jewish residents requesting permission to use the highway from Talmon, a community near Ramallah, to Jerusalem. Both petitions rested on the principle of freedom of movement. Now, don't fall out of your chairs just yet. The High Court set that the security establishment must allow Palestinians to use highway 443, even if it could endanger Israelis on the road. Yet at the same time, it forbid the defense establishment from allowing Jewish residents to use the short Talmon-Jerusalem highway. Now you should hold on to your chairs: the latter decision was based on the High Court's concern for settlers' safety.

...20,000 other Israelis and I live in absolutely legal residential locations in the western Binyamin region, established with permission from the proper authorities...through the late 1990s, residents in this area could drive on a highway that reached [Jerusalem] in about 20 minutes. But then, terror struck the roads, and some Jewish residents paid with their lives for the drive. The short highway to Jerusalem was closed for security purposes, and instead cars were diverted to a new 60 kilometer (37 miles) spiral road, heading first west, then east and finally south, requiring drivers to pass through three IDF checkpoints before arriving in Jerusalem. 1998 they decided to build a new paved highway from the Talmon area to Jerusalem...the Jewish residents were ready to use the existing highway, but the High Court forbid them from doing so [and]...the new highway was designated for any licensed driver, regardless of license plate color, either Israeli or Palestinian.

Yet this has still not happened and now it appears that it never will. In response to a more recent petition submitted by Yesh Din, a NGO that advocates for human rights, the Civil Administration announced that it had cancelled plans to build an alternative paved highway.

So here are the options: if you are a Jew, take the long road, which is totally geographically illogical. If you are an Arab, take the efficient short road, the one closed to Jewish traffic since the start of the first Intifada in December of 1987. If you want justice, and you were born to a Jewish mother, don't seek it in the Israeli Supreme Court. This, in essence, is the story of apartheid in Judea and Samaria.  

Think about that.

No comments: