Israel’s ‘Apartheid Road’ brings renewed home demolitions, land confiscations for Palestinian town

The Palestinian side of Israel’s new ‘Apartheid Road.’ (Photo: Yumna Patel)
Israeli authorities consider the new highway a “gift” to Palestinians.

By Yumna Patel | Mondoweiss | Jan 22, 2019

People around the world were shocked by this apartheid road, but in Anata, and all across the occupied lands of Palestine, we have already been living in a reality of apartheid for so long.
— Mohammed Salameh

It was only a matter of time, 66-year-old Mohammed Salameh said, before his hometown of Anata suffered another blow dealt by the Israeli occupation.

Located in the central occupied West Bank district of Jerusalem, less than 10 km north of Jerusalem City, the Palestinian town of Anata has seen it all: vast land confiscations, clusters of Israeli settlements built on its land, the Israeli separation wall, home demolitions, and residents killed and arrested by Israeli soldiers.

So when more of Anata’s lands were cut off last week when Israeli authorities opened Route 4370 highway, deemed by locals as the “Apartheid Road,” Salameh and his fellow community members were forced to continue on with their lives as usual.

“We were not surprised by the opening,” Salameh told Mondoweiss in the office of Anata’s municipality, where he works as the Coordinator of Land Protection in the town. “They have been working on this road for years, so we knew it would open eventually.”

When it was opened, stark images of the eight meter wall running through the middle of Route 4730 made international headlines.

The wall, made of concrete and topped with a fence, segregates the road into two separate two-way lanes: one side for Palestinians and one for Israelis.

“People around the world were shocked by this apartheid road,” Salameh said, “but in Anata, and all across the occupied lands of Palestine, we have already been living in a reality of apartheid for so long.”

“Despite what the Israelis say,” he continued, “things are going to get much, much worse for the people of Anata, and for all Palestinians in the West Bank.”

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