RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — The Israeli authorities on Monday reopened a West Bank road between Ramallah and the eastern village of Beitin that has been closed 15 years.
Beitin residents have been forced to take a route to Ramallah almost 20 kilometers long since 2000, even though the village lies just three kilometers from Ramallah. Only private cars will be allowed to use the reopened road, while taxis, buses and trucks will be banned. The road will also be used by Israeli settlers from the illegal settlements of Bet El and Psagot.Director of the local PA liaison office, Nadir Hajji, said that “long negotiations with the Israeli liaison office” had been required to convince the Israelis to reopen the road.
The Israeli Civil Administration reportedly described its reopening as a “good will gesture” to the PA.They had previously informed the Beitin municipality that they would only agree to open the road if it underwent improvements to make it more usable.The road’s inauguration on Monday morning took place after the road had been leveled and repaved with asphalt. The inauguration was attended by representatives of the Beitin village council, the Ministry of Local Governance, and the Ramallah and al-Bireh governor’s office, as well as Palestinian and Israeli liaison officers. Israeli forces maintain severe restrictions on Palestinians’ freedom of movement in the West Bank through a complex combination of fixed checkpoints, flying checkpoints, roads forbidden to Palestinians but open exclusively to Jewish settlers, and various other physical obstructions.At any given time there are about 100 permanent Israeli checkpoints in the West Bank, while surprise flying checkpoints often number into the hundreds.The internationally recognized Palestinian territories of which the West Bank and East Jerusalem form a part have been occupied by the Israeli military since 1967.