The Map accepted, the Road blocked !

The Map accepted, the Road blocked !


The government of Israel recently accepted the 'Road Map' which calls for normalizing the Palestinian daily life and providing more facilities for the movement in the West Bank in addition to the freezing of settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories-OPT. Other obligations are to be imposed on the Palestinian side once the Palestinian National Authority takes control over the territories.

The first Israeli response after the acceptance of the Road Map was blocking the Palestinian districts totally and preventing Palestinians from free movement in the West Bank. This act was achieved by adding more checkpoints and blockades to prevent any movement. In Bethlehem district for example the main road 'Wadi el Nar' which is the only passage leading to the northern districts of the West Bank from the southern districts was blocked by a checkpoint. The secondary roads that lead to that main road were blocked by earth mounts to prevent any connection between the north and the south. As a result the eastern rural areas in Bethlehem area became totally blocked as well as the western rural areas which are already blocked and isolated from the city of Bethlehem. These actions have lead to the complete isolation of the district from the rest of the West Bank districts. See Map of Checkpoints 

See Photo



The other Israeli response to the Road Map was by the Israeli Housing Minister Avi Itam who decided to construct 11,806 housing units in the OPT during the year 2003. The message behind this decision is that the colonization will continue. The majority of those units will be in Ma'ale Adumim, Giva'at Ze'ev, Ariel, Bitar Illt, and Giv'at Binyamin settlements, where most of them are located in and around Jerusalem district. The ministry of housing has already issued tenders to build 502 housing units in Ma'ale Adumim settlement. The Israeli government claims the need to enlarge the settlements because of natural growth that reached rate of 5.8 % in West Bank settlements during the year 2002 according to yedi'ot Ahronot newspaper while in Israel the growth rate is only 2%. In reality, the growth in settlements is not natural; it is enhanced by other factors such as migration of Jews from other countries and this could stop. See Chart    

Source: GIS Database 2003-ARIJ


The erection of the separation wall, the creation of security zones, the expansion of settlements and the building of by-pass roads are also creating new facts that are going to change the game on the table of negotiations. One of the most astonishing things is the Israeli prime minister's acceptance of the Road Map on paper, while imposing new facts on the ground incompatible with the Road Map context and leaving little space for negotiations.  



Prepared by:  
The Applied Research Institute – Jerusalem

Categories: Checkpoints