Settler Roads on Ramallah Tour

Fred Schlomka
It's amazing how something as banal as roads can become a major political issue. On some of my tours I show the visitors the major four-lane highways that Israel is crisscrossing the West Bank with, for the convenience of settlers. These are contrasted with the small, often steep and narrow roadsbeing built for Palestinians who are denied access to settler roads in the Greater Jerusalem area. Soon this road complex will be complete.

On one of the tours, the 'Back Roads to Ramallah', visitors are guided through the maze of Palestinian roads leading from Bethlehem to Ramallah, through checkpoints and delays, showing them the daily experience of palestinians seeking to drive from the south to the north West Bank. This two-hour drive will shortly become a three or four hour trek as Israel prepares to open the final phase of the segregated road network east of Jerusalem.

I took one of my guides on a training tour a few days ago and we found new nuances in the roads that clearly indicate the Israeli government's intention to clear Palestinian traffic from the major artery, Route 1, that runs from Jerusalem to the Dead Sea. The government calls them 'Fabric of Life' roads but it is fast becoming an Orwellian nightmare


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