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Resisting Israel’s Apartheid Road System

Defiant Palestinians Resist Apartheid Road System
by Ewan 3 May 2007

Road block removal

Dharariya– Last night, around 75 Palestinians, supported by Israeli and international solidarity activists, arrived at the roadblock on the junction connecting the main road from Dhahiriya to Route 60. Within minutes a coach-load of men, women and children from the village arrived. The group began to move the roadblock using a large rope. After the chants of “waahid, ‘tneen, teletaa”, the group hauled the first block to the side of the road.

As the group dragged the second block, two IDF jeeps arrived. Despite soldiers demanding that the group stop, attempting to push people out of the way and trying to run their jeep into those pulling the rope, the group remained defiant and persisted with the removal. They eventually hauled off the second block, clearing a gap large enough for cars to pass through.

The roadblock has been installed since the beginning of the first Intifada. It prevents the 90,000 Palestinians in Dhahariya and neighbouring villages from accessing Route 60, the main road into Hebron. This forces them to take a longer alternative route, turning what would be a 20-minute journey into an hour and a half. The nearest hospital to Dharirya is in Hebron, so this roadblock added more than an hour onto the journey time for an ambulance, effectively cutting off the village from emergency medical care.

Roadblock removal

This roadblock is part of the Israeli Government’s wider strategy to create and apartheid road system throughout the West Bank. Many existing roads are reserved for settlers and Israeli citizens only, and the Israeli Government continues to cut off access for Palestinians. This policy blocks major access routes for trade and emergency services to Palestinians and is bringing the economy to its knees.

Palestinians are continuing to resist this apartheid road system, with the support of Israeli and international activists. Last month a roadblock preventing access to a major food market was removed and remains open today. Earlier yesterday in a similar action, villagers near Ramallah removed a roadblock in Deir Ibzia.