Road near Jerusalem puts wall between Israelis, Palestinians

The separation wall in the West Bank. Montecruz

The separation wall in the West Bank. Montecruz

Israel has opened a highway dubbed "Apartheid Road" in Jerusalem - a roughly 2-mile stretch that separates Palestinian drivers on one side and Jewish settlers on the other with a 26-foot-high fence, according to a report.

Hebron and its environs are a frequent flashpoint, with the southern West Bank city divided between Israeli and Palestinian control and the two populations often coming into contact with each other.

Israel's Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan said the road would ease heavy traffic for settlers in the area while helping Israel overcome "security challenges".

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.

"While legislative initiatives like the Greater Jerusalem Bill and other plans created to redraw the boundaries of the city may be stalled, infrastructure projects have already proven an effective tool for increasing connectivity between the blocs and the city, not only by solidifying physical linkages but also by eroding the boundaries of the city in the Israeli public consciousness", the group said.

Maale Adumim, a settlement with more than 40,000 residents on the eastern outskirts of Jerusalem, could become a suburb like any other, he said.

A Palestinian man tried to carry out a stabbing attack near the West Bank city of Hebron on Friday and was shot and critically injured by troops, the army said.

In 2002, Israel began building a security barrier separating Jerusalem from the rest of the West Bank in an bid to bolster security following the Second Intifada; Palestinians dubbed the undertaking the "apartheid road" and have repeatedly called for it to be taken down.

Ahmed Mohammed al-Qaysi, a Palestinian driver for the Al-Zaim local council, does not have permission from Israel to cross the separation barrier and enter Jerusalem, like many Palestinians in the West Bank. "This new road is absolutely unacceptable and embodies barefaced discrimination against the Palestinian people".

Infrastructure is a problem in the West Bank, where Palestinians say they have been unable to build adequate infrastructure due to Israeli restrictions.

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