Israel drives new ring road through East Jerusalem

Video Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on June 15, 2020 - Duration: 02:16s

Israel drives new ring road through East Jerusalem

A new Israeli ring road is being built that will go through East Jerusalem and link settlement blocks.

Palestinian and Israeli critics say it is part of a long-term strategy to consolidate Israel's hold over the occupied West Bank.

Lucy Fielder reports.

Israel drives new ring road through East Jerusalem

This will be The American Road -- a new bypass connecting Israel's Jewish settlements to the north and south of Jerusalem.

Israeli officials say the ring road will benefit all of the city's residents.

But critics say it's yet another obstacle to Palestinian hopes to make their future capital in East Jerusalem, through which the road runs.

Rasem Obeidat is on the land protection committee of Jabal al-Mukabar, a Palestinian neighborhood The American Road will run through.

"This (the American Road) will eliminate the (Palestinian state) project and the possibility of creating a viable Palestinian state; it will separate Jerusalem from the northern and southern West Bank." Israel's annexation of East Jerusalem -- after capturing it along with the West Bank and Gaza strip in 1967 -- has never won international recognition.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wants to annex Jewish settlements in the West Bank too, and world criticism is growing.

Israel Gantz, the leader of a settler council north of Jerusalem, says Palestinian as well as Israeli residents of Jerusalem will benefit from the road.

"Also, a Jerusalem resident who wants to get from Har Homa to the northern part of the city and doesn’t want to pass through the traffic jams can use and be helped by this road to avoid traffic.

It’s necessary.

It’s found in any big city -- ring roads that surround the city so you don’t have to cross through the city.

That’s the rationale behind this road." A bridge under construction towers over the rural landscape and shows the scale of The American Road.

This is Hagit Ofran, head of an Israeli settlement watchdog with the NGO Peace Now: "The Eastern Ring Road that we are seeing behind me is a road that is meant to connect settlements from south West Bank, to the settlements of north West Bank and to make them bigger and stronger.

As you know, roads are like the pipelines of the livelihood of the settlements and this is going to be a boost for settlements all around the West Bank.” The American Road, named after a narrow old road in Jerusalem, is expected to cost more than a quarter of a billion dollars in total.

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