Netanyahu opens new east Jerusalem road

Peace Now says infrastructure deepens Israel’s hold on area that should be part of Palestinian state.

By
May 6, 2013 03:48
3 minute read.
Prime Minister Netanyahu inaugurates an interchange in Jerusalem named for his father, May 5, 2013

Netanyahu with Barkat370. (photo credit: Kobi Gideon/GPO)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user uxperience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew, Ivrit
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Repor
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later Don't show it again

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu ceremoniously opened a new road in east Jerusalem on Sunday that eased traffic congestion but angered the Palestinians who oppose all Israeli activity over the pre-1967 lines.

The completion of the NIS 180 million project for 400 meters of Highway 20 asphalt allows residents of the Jewish east Jerusalem neighborhoods of Pisgat Ze’ev and Neveh Ya’acov to link up with Route 443 without traveling through French Hill and clogging up its roads.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


Israeli Arabs living in the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Beit Hanina will similarly be able to scoot more easily onto Route 443.

The road’s interchange was named for Netanyahu’s father, Benzion, who passed away on April 30 last year at age 102.

Early in the morning, Netanyahu stood there as he inaugurated the road along with Transportation Minister Israel Katz and Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat.

“We are working continuously and systematically to link Jerusalem with itself and to the other parts of the country, because Zion is important to us and it was important to my father,” said Netanyahu.

“He wasn’t named ‘Benzion’ for nothing. It says everything – Benzion, literally ‘Son of Zion,’” Netanyahu said.



Fatah spokesman Husam Zomlot attacked the opening of the road and said it showed that Israel was not serious about a two-state solution.

“It is just another proof that Mr. Netanyahu has only one plan for one state – and that is the state for the settlers,” Zomlot said.

“It is another proof that his entire agenda is that of further colonization and providing all the services possible for the settlers,” Zomlot said.

“The position of my movement, the leading party of the PLO, is that there shall be no peace and no political settlement without east Jerusalem as the capital of the Palestinian state,” Zomlot said.

But Netanyahu has always insisted that a united Jerusalem will remain under Israeli sovereignty in any twostate solution.

Speaking on Sunday morning at the road, he said that his father had taught him “that our state is a deposit for the generations of Jews who dreamt and prayed and fought and sacrificed so that we might return to our land and renew in it our independence.

“He taught me about the enormous responsibility that we have to ensure the security of the State of Israel and build up its future. This heritage needs to unite us all every day, and so it does,” Netanyahu said.

Katz said the new road was part of an ongoing effort to improve access to the capital, which included an upgrade to Route 1 and plans for a highspeed rail line to Jerusalem.

“The opening of Highway 20 and the Benzion interchange will ease traffic congestion in northern Jerusalem and allow hundreds of thousands of visitors and tourists additional access that is easy and quick,” Barkat said.

But Hagit Ofran of Peace Now said that a small portion of Highway 20 goes through the West Bank, as it leaves Jerusalem’s municipal border and links to Route 443, which also cuts through the West Bank before linking with the major artery to Tel Aviv.

But, she said, the main issue was that such infrastructure deepens Israel’s hold on an area that should be part of a Palestinian state and makes it more difficult to come to a two-state solution.

The opening of the road comes amidst a renewed push by the United States to resume direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, negotiations which have been largely frozen since December 2008.

Related Content

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
August 31, 2014
Prime minister to Channel 1: I’ll be running again in next election

By Gil Stern Stern HOFFMAN