"No More Political Traffic Jams" - Road-Opening Demanded

Grassroots organizations in Gush Etzion and environs are working together to demand the opening of a new but not yet completed road to Jerusalem.

Hillel Fendel , | updated: 4:06 PM

"The government is dragging its feet in order to dry us out," residents say, "and especially the area of eastern Gush Etzion."

At issue, essentially, are two south-north routes to Jerusalem: the existing one, known as the Tunnels Highway, which is often blocked by security-related terror threats or checkpoint traffic jams, and the new one whose paving the army refuses to complete.

The new road lies to the east of the Tunnels Highway and the city of Efrat, and leads from Tekoa, past the Herodion, to southern Jerusalem's Har Homa neighborhood - an eight-minute drive in total. However, here is the rub: The last few kilometers before Har Homa have not yet been paved.

Army officials have informed the populace that it cannot pave the road, as it would cost too much to provide security for Jewish travelers in the area of the Arab village of Beit Sahour. As a result, only Arabs now use the road.

The residents do not accept the army's explanation. "The long waits at the Tunnels checkpoint, are due to 'security considerations,'" the flyer for tomorrow's rally notes sarcastically, "and the long-promised spanking new Tekoa-Jerusalem road is closed to Jews for 'security reasons' as well... Our government is so concerned for our welfare that it takes an hour instead of 15 minutes to get to Jerusalem. Our government is so concerned for our safety that the beautiful new autostrada linking eastern Gush Etzion to Jerusalem has been given over to the Arabs and barred to Jewish traffic."

"Sitting in the gridlock on the Tunnels Highway, among dozens of Arab cars and streams of Arab foot traffic, really gives us a wonderful feeling of security!" the flyer concludes.

Demanding that the road be paved and opened, hundreds of residents are expected to gather tomorrow (Friday) morning at 9:30 in Tekoa, and travel along the highway. "We'll call for an end to the political traffic jams and fences!" the flyer states. "We demand to live and travel freely in Eretz Yisrael [the Land of Israel]!"

Participants are asked to bring a hat, walking shoes, and water "in case we need to walk." A bus will leave Hevron for the rally at 9 AM, with stops in Kiryat Arba, the Gush Etzion intersection, and at the southern gate of Efrat.