Palestinians Fear Two-Tier Road System
BEIT SIRA, West Bank -- Ali Abu Safia, 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 100 yards away, Israeli cars whiz by.
"They took our land to build this road, and now we can't even use it," Mr. 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 Mr. Abu Safia's contempt -- Highway 443, a major access road to Jerusalem -- has taken on special significance in the grinding Israeli-Palestinian conflict. For the first time, the Supreme Court, albeit in an interim decision, has accepted the idea of separate roads for Palestinians in the occupied areas.snip
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.
The one-paragraph decision calls on the army to give a progress report in six months on its efforts to build separate roads and take other steps for the Palestinians to compensate them for being barred from Highway 443. It is the acceptance of the idea of separate road systems that has engendered commentary, although legal experts say there is a slight chance that the court could reconsider its approach when it next examines the issue.
"There is already a separate legal system in the territories for Israelis and Palestinians," (of course there is, moron, it's not going to be ONE STATE) said Limor Yehuda, who argued the recent 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.' "
Many Israelis and their supporters reject the term, with its implication of racist animus.
"The basis of separation is not ethnic since Israeli Arabs and Jerusalem residents with Israeli ID cards can use the road," argues Dore Gold, president of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, a conservative research organization. "The basis of the separation is to keep out of secure areas people living in chaotic areas. If the Palestinian Authority, which has thousands of men under arms, had fought terror, this wouldn't have been necessary."
David Kretzmer, an emeritus professor of international law at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, wrote in an op-ed article in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz of what he called the "judicial hypocrisy" of Israel's reign over the territories manifest in this case.
He said that while the changed security circumstances of recent years may have forced a change in the road's mixed use, "the unavoidable conclusion is that, as unfortunate as this may be, Israelis should not be allowed to travel on the road that was built, let's not forget, for the benefit of the local population.
Fine, then build a separate secure road for the Israelis. Where they can go about their biz without being killed...but that wouldn't be okay either Mr, Kretzmer, I bet, would it?
"But the military government has, of course, decided otherwise: Israelis will be allowed to travel on the road, while Palestinians -- for whom, the court's ruling says, the road was paved -- cannot use it, and access to the road from local Palestinian villages will be blocked."
For many Israelis, however, the dozens of attacks that have taken place on the road in recent years are reason enough to ban Palestinian traffic there and to limit Palestinians to other routes. In 2001, for example, five Israelis were killed by gunfire on Highway 443 and since then a number of others have been injured from stone-throwing.
If Israel has a right to exist, it has a right to security for its citizens, from those who as both polls and elections show desire their death or expulsions. On the day the palestinian peoples give up, or are lead from this idea of killing or expelling the jewish enemy, the corruptors of the world it can begin to change. Until then, what is there even to discuss? The 20 more rockets launched from Gaza in the last 2 days? Or the Hadiths calling for the arabs to kill the jews at the behest of bushes and trees?