‘Sovereignty Road’ linking Jerusalem to E1 to receive NIS 14m. boost

“This is a significant breakthrough in advancing the issue."

The E1 territory, located outside of Jerusalem and within the jurisdiction of the Ma'aleh Adumim settlement (photo credit: TOVAH LAZAROFF)
The E1 territory, located outside of Jerusalem and within the jurisdiction of the Ma'aleh Adumim settlement
(photo credit: TOVAH LAZAROFF)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has promised to allocate an additional NIS 14 million to advance work on a project – dubbed “sovereignty” or “apartheid” road – that would link the E1 section of the Ma’aleh Adumim settlement with Jerusalem.
“This is a significant breakthrough in advancing the issue,” Ma’aleh Adumim Mayor Benny Kashriel said in a statement on the matter posted on the city’s website.
The project, also called the “Fabric of Life” road, is considered essential for the development of E1, where Israel is slated to build 3,412 homes in a move that would vastly expand Ma’aleh Adumim, which is the third-largest settler city in the West Bank, after Modi’in Illit and Betar Illit.
The E1 project has been largely frozen for close to three decades because Palestinians and the international community consider it harmful to the feasibility of a contiguous future Palestinian state.
The US, excluding the Trump administration, had also historically objected to the project.
Israel has argued that the issue of contiguity is best addressed by an efficient but separate road system, including this one, that would allow direct Palestinian traffic between Ramallah and Bethlehem that skirts the E1 blocs, while Israeli travel between Jerusalem and Ma’aleh Adumim would also be made easier.
Critics of the project have accused Israel of “apartheid” for its promotion of a road that separates Israeli and Palestinian traffic.
The municipal notice about the project stated that there would be “a separate road for Palestinians in the E1 area,” which would distinguish between Israeli and Palestinian traffic so that “Palestinian vehicles could pass without traveling through the Ma’aleh Adumim bloc, near the Jewish settlements.”
It noted that “at the political level, the road would connect Jerusalem and Ma’aleh Adumim and allow Jewish settlement construction in the E1 area.”
The municipality added that it would ease traffic congestion and eliminate the need for checkpoints.
The road would then exit from Eizariya-Abu Dis to the tunnel under the a-Zaim checkpoint, and vehicles would travel on a separate road toward Hizma-Ramallah, the municipality said.
Yamina party head Naftali Bennett had initially promoted the project in March when he served as the defense minister.
Kashriel said he had campaigned and pushed Netanyahu to allocate more funding, a move that bore fruit only this week, with a conversation between Kashriel, Netanyahu, Transportation Minister Miri Regev and Finance Minister Israel Katz, both of the Likud Party.
Prior to the meeting Kashriel sent Netanyahu a letter in which he accused him of dragging his feet on the issue, noting that he had promised to pave the road three years ago at a Likud faction meeting in the Knesset. Then it was determined that the road would be paved in 2020. Again in August, a pledge was once more given with respect to the road, and yet, Kashriel noted in his letter, he was still seeking funds for the project.
After receiving another pledge from Netanyahu for funds this week, Kashriel thanked the prime minister, along with Regev and Katz, for the help.
The left-wing group Peace Now charged on Wednesday that the project was part of Netanyahu’s reelection campaign.
“Netanyahu’s election campaign is costing Israel a very heavy price. Once again, he is using the election period to try to impress key Likud supporters by promoting a plan that could eliminate the possibility of a two-state solution. The planned road will allow Israel to cut the West Bank in two, build E1 and the separation barrier, and close the door on the possibility of developing a sustainable Palestinian state.”
In the last year, Netanyahu allowed for plans for 3,412 settler homes in E1 to be deposited. Peace Now has filed an objection to those plans.