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‘No to Apartheid’: Palestinian activists blockade entrance to Israel’s new ‘Apartheid Road’

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Over a dozen Palestinian activists, along with Israeli and international supporters, blockaded the entrance to Israel’s new ‘Apartheid Road’ in the central occupied West Bank district of Jerusalem on Wednesday morning.

The group of activists closed the gates to the newly opened road and formed a human chain, raising banners in Arabic, English, and Hebrew saying “No to Apartheid” and “No to Annexation.”

Israeli forces approach activists at the entrance to the ‘Apartheid Road’ on January 23, 2019 (Photo, PSCC Facebook)

Israeli forces arrived to the scene, which is located adjacent to an Israeli military base, shortly after the activists closed the road and attempted to forcibly remove them.

Two protesters were arrested and at least four others were injured. One of the detained protesters was identified as Ibrahim Musalem, from the southern West Bank city of Bethlehem.

Palestinian activist Ibrahim Musalem was arrested by Israeli forces (Photo: Munther Amira, Facebook)

Palestinian activist Munther Amira, who participated in the protest, said “any shame the [Israeli] Occupation may have had of its apartheid policies is now completely gone with this road. We must not and will not allow for their plan of ethnic cleansing in the outskirts of Jerusalem.”

Israeli authorities opened the ‘Apartheid Road’ or ‘Eastern Ring Road’ earlier this month to widespread Palestinian and international criticisms.

The four-lane highway features two separate road divided by a concrete wall – one for Israeli settlers and the other for Palestinians.

While the Israeli lane allows settlers quick and easy access to the center of Jerusalem, the Palestinian lane is designed to separate Palestinians off through an underpass, diverging to different areas of the West Bank.

In a statement regarding the protest, the Palestinian Popular Struggle Coordination Committee (PSCC) criticized Israel’s plans to expand the road to the south, saying it would “further entrench the two separate and unequal systems of transportation in the West Bank.”

The road is a key infrastructural part of implementing Israel’s ‘Greater Jerusalem’ or ‘E1’ plan, which seeks the de facto annexation of the three settlement blocs adjacent to Jerusalem city – Gush Etzion to the South, Ma’ale Adumim/E-1 to the east and Givat Ze’ev to the north.

If implemented, the southern West Bank would be completely cut off from the north, making a future contiguous Palestinian state nearly impossible.

Yumna Patel

Yumna Patel is the Palestine correspondent for Mondoweiss.

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11 Responses

  1. amigo on January 23, 2019, 3:58 pm

    Calling this Apartheid is antisemitic.

    Suggesting that Jews in their Historic Homeland should share the benefits of their decades long efforts to recreate The Greater Israel with interlopers is positively medieval.

    • Citizen on January 24, 2019, 9:07 pm

      Ashkenazi Jews, mostly from Europe and America, are the interlopers. Perhaps we should all fly to Africa and squat there, because we all came from there?

      • echinococcus on January 25, 2019, 1:50 am

        Citizen, that’s just what we’ve been doing since the start of colonialism.

  2. Misterioso on January 24, 2019, 10:41 am

    More proof that “Israel” is the very definition of racism and fascism.

    “Thus the Fruit of the Land Grows”

    “This is exactly how the racist wild weeds of Israeli society grow; a spiritual leader legitimizes harming Arabs and injects it with halakhic ideology – all while receiving a state salary.”

    Haaretz editorial, January 24/19

    “Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, the rabbi of Safed and an important personality in the religious Zionist community, believes that an injustice was done to the five teens suspected of killing Palestinian woman Aisha Rabi. During a lesson in halakha, Jewish law, that he delivered to students at the Pri Haaretz yeshiva high school which the suspects attend, he called the justice system corrupt and said it was discriminating against the teens, while it favored Arabs.

    “The fact that the teens allegedly threw stones at the car in which Rabi, a mother of eight, was riding, causing her death, doesn’t seem to make much of an impression on him. ‘When Arabs throw stones in the West Bank, that’s okay,’ he said. ‘But if it’s a Jews, you call out the entire Shin Bet? What kind of law is that? Where is that law written?’

    “The content of his talk with the Pri Haaretz students amounts to explicit support for the terror suspects. The belittling of the stone-throwing that caused the tragedy (‘What’s the big deal? What are you being accused of? You threw a stone.’) is criminal disregard for human life and indirect incitement to murder. But for Eliyahu, the end justifies the means, and the end is to ‘take over the government.’ A prison term can be preparation for leadership, he said, since it is written that ‘for out of prison he came forth to reign’ (Ecclesiastes 4:14). This is exactly how the racist wild weeds of Israeli society grow; a spiritual leader legitimizes harming Arabs and injects it with halakhic ideology – all while receiving a state salary.

    “Aside from being Safed’s municipal rabbi, Eliyahu is also a member of the Chief Rabbinate Council, and the Chief Rabbinate’s National Council for Kashrut and Mikva’ot (ritual baths). Thus, when he tells yeshiva students that the legal system and the rest of state institutions are a ‘corrupt system’ he isn’t entirely wrong. Only in a corrupt system can a person who openly opposed having Arabs study in Safed Academic College; expressed support for transferring Arabs out of Israel and issued a ruling forbidding Jews to sell or rent apartments to non-Jews – continue to hold official positions. Only a system that doesn’t know how to set boundaries against incitement, racism and ultra nationalism, and that prioritizes ‘Jewish’ over ‘democratic,’ can treat a person like Eliyahu with such criminal tolerance.

    “Two years ago the Israel Religious Action Center and a few other organizations petitioned the High Court to subject Eliyahu to a disciplinary trial for his previous statements. Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked avoided taking any steps against him but pressured by the petition she declared that she had held a ‘clarification talk’ with him. Let us hope that this time the attorney general will make the necessary decision to dismiss Eliyahu from his official posts.”

    The above article is Haaretz’s lead editorial, as published in the Hebrew and English newspapers in Israel.

  3. Ronald Johnson on January 24, 2019, 1:18 pm

    We may be at a breakthrough for re-evaluating Zionism. A handy reference is available on Amazon (third party sellers): “All That Remains, the Palestinian Villages Occupied and Depopulated by Israel in 1948”:

    Observe a moment of silence for Albert Glock, Archeologist from Birzeit University, one of the co-editors. He was murdered, without an investigation:

    • Mayhem on January 26, 2019, 1:13 am

      @Ronald Johnson, your comment has a very fundamental flaw. The supposed co-editor of the book you have mentioned was killed in 1992 while the book wasn’t published till 2006.
      Go figure!

      • annie on January 26, 2019, 7:07 am

        that’s interesting. did you read the editorial reviews?

        “A fundamental research tool for all historians interested in the history of Palestine. A monumental effort … a major achievement.” –Roger Owen, The Middle East Centre, St. Antony’s College, Oxford University, 1992

        “This scholarly and dispassionate documentaton of a tragedy … is must reading….” –Ambassador Richard Parker, Middle East Institute, 1992

        “This massive, meticulous, rigorous compendium is a milestone in the Palestinians’ effort to recover their history.” –Michael C. Hudson, Seif Ghobash Professor of Arab Studies, Georgetown University, 1992

        perhaps 2006 was when the paperback was published by the Institute for Palestine Studies

      • annie on January 26, 2019, 7:12 am

        oh look, a collectible

        SIGNED ( With best wishes Walid Khalidi 11/14/92 ) copy is good, hardcover, jacket shows mild edge wear and tear, binding is solid, unmarked text, nice interior, map/poster included, We take great pride in accurately describing the condition of our books, ship within 48 hours and offer a 100% money back guarantee. We take great pride in accurately describing the condition of our books and media, ship within 48 hours, and offer a 100% money back guarantee.

      • gamal on January 26, 2019, 7:27 am

        “oh look, a collectible”

        Thanks for that I am going to buy one, the customer reviews make interesting reading.

  4. Bennorius on January 26, 2019, 9:01 am

    To Mayhem above, I have a hard back copy of Walid Khalidi’s encyclopedic “All That Remains: The Palestinian Villages Occupied and Depopulated by Israel in 1948” in my library. It was published in 1992 by the Institute of Palestine Studies in Washington, DC. Albert Glock is listed among the Associate Editors from Birzeit University. Glock was murdered in January 1992, but his editorship of course refers to work done before he died. Ronald Johnson is right on the mark. You are confused. The date of 2006 you mention, refers to the paperback version of “All That Remains….” . That was published in April 2006.
    Go figure!

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