On Sunday, at 10 am, November 4th a demonstration against the apartheid road system will take place on the Israeli-only 443 highway. The demonstration will take place at the bridge near Beit Ur that runs above the Palestinian only tunnel that runs beneath the highway.
For seven years now, Highway 443 has been accessible to Israelis only. Palestinians are forbidden to travel on the highway, even on the 9.5 kilometer-long segment which passes through occupied West Bank territory and is built on land that has been confiscated from Palestinians whose olive trees have been cut down “for the benefit of the local population.”
Palestinians are forbidden to travel even along the segment that is nine and a half kilometers long and passes through West Bank territory. The road was widened in the 1990s using land confiscated from the local Palestinians under the pretense that the road would be open to Palestinians as well as Israelis, many ancient olive trees were destroyed during the road expansion.
The policy of prohibiting Palestinian movement on this road is not an isolated case. On 312 kilometers of main roads in the West Bank, vehicles bearing Palestinian license plates are forbidden or restricted access. According to OCHA (UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs) Of the 539 physical obstacles and check point that restrict Palestinian movement, only fourteen separate the territories occupied in 1967 from Israel proper. Nearly all of the physical obstacles and checkpoints that make up the closure regime are located along the roads for Israeli use. These roads, in addition to the segregation wall, carve up Palestinian areas into isolated enclaves. This fragmentation is at the root of the West Bank’s declining economy.
Thursday October 24th Palestinian Israeli and international protesters blocked the highway for over fifteen minutes by organizing a sit down in the road. Palestinians distributed a message to the drivers in Hebrew (see: http://www.apartheidmasked.org/?p=118) on the highway: “We know what it feels like to be blocked. We experience it daily.”
Journalists can meet at the demonstration itself at 10 am, at the bridge near beit Ur that runs above the Palestinian only tunnel that runs beneath the highway.
From Tel Aviv, meet at the central bus station at 8:30, and contact Ilan Shalif beforehand as early as you can if a ride is needed. Email is best, firstname.lastname@example.org and include your mobile phone, or call him at 036482749 or 0524655520 but do not send a text message.
From Ramallah, meet at the Manara at 9 am.
For more information:
Yousef Karaje 02-2488113
or Mohammad 0545573285
and visit www.apartheidmasked.org