Israelis and Palestinians celebrate the opening of the road on Wednesday. Included in the photo is Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz and Binyamin Regional Council head Israel Ganz.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The United Nations must restore the defunct resolution declaring that “Zionism is racism,” the Palestinian Authority said on Thursday, in response to Israel’s opening of an “apartheid road” in the West Bank outside of Jerusalem.
“To all those who are defending the state of occupation, it’s time to drop the claim that its the only democracy in the Middle East now that it has opened the apartheid road, which separates Israeli and Palestinian drivers,” PLO Executive Committee member Ahmed Majdalani said.
He spoke just one day after Israel formally opened the first section of the Eastern Ring Road in the Ma’aleh Adumim bloc.
The road was designed to help improve Israeli and Palestinian traffic. Once it’s completed, it will facilitate traffic between the settlements in the Binyamin region and Jerusalem, and will allow for easy Palestinian travel between the major West Bank cities of Bethlehem and Ramallah.
But a security barrier set up in the middle of the road separates vehicles traveling along the two traffic routes. The visual of the separate routes has caused the road’s opponents to dub it as the “apartheid road.”
Majdalani said the time had come to restore the infamous UN General Assembly Resolution 3379 that was adopted in 1975, which determined that Zionism is a form of racism and of racial discrimination.
The resolution was revoked in 1991 by the General Assembly.
Majdalani also called on the international community, especially the EU, Russia and China, to “form an international alliance to combat Israeli racism and fascism.”
Israeli society was deeply shifting toward racism and fascism, Majdalani said.
The PA foreign ministry said that the new “apartheid” road that was inaugurated by Israel casts doubt about the international community’s ability to defend what’s left of Israel’s credibility.
The ministry is also upset because the road borders E1, an unbuilt section of the Ma’aleh Adumim settlement where Israel wants to build some 3,500 apartment units but has held off as a result of international pressure.
The Palestinians have charged that construction of that section of Ma’aleh Adumim would harm the viability of its future state, making territorial continuity difficult.
Israel has long held that a bypass road system, such as the one it is now working on, would address the issue.
The road, once completed, would draw Palestinian traffic away from the E1 area, thereby removing one of the obstacles for its development.
The opening of the new road is a step toward implementing the expansionist colonialist project known as E1, which separates the northern West Bank from its southern parts, the PA ministry said.
“It’s a disgrace for the international community to witness and be in collusion with the establishment of apartheid in occupied Palestine without taking any action,” the ministry said in a statement published in Ramallah. The ministry said it was also shocked by the “deafening silence” and “apathy” of the international community “toward apartheid in Palestine.”
At the road’s opening on Wednesday, Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan alluded to the charges of apartheid, when he said that the road was a testament to coexistence.
Israel has spent NIS 30 million to open the road, which in this first stage can only be accessed from 5 a.m. to noon.
The road opens just as the Palestinian Authority is set to head a major UN group of 134 member nations, known as the Group of 77 and China.
It is the first time the Palestinians, which have non-member status at the UN, has been in charge of the group. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is expected to travel to New York for the occasion.
The Palestinians have said that they plan to also use the occasion to push for statehood recognition at the UN. That initiative is likely doomed to failure, because it would need UN Security Council approval. The US has veto power at the UNSC and would block the move.
But the Palestinians have automatic support at the UN General Assembly and are likely to be successful with any resolution they want to pass there.
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