Left Livid: 44 Roads Slated for Judea-Samaria

Is the 'covert' building freeze due to be torpedoed entirely? Half of long-standing plan for new roads approved as leftists fume.

Tova Dvorin ,

Israeli road (illustration)
Israeli road (illustration)
Israel news photo: Flash 90

The State of Israel's "building freeze" in Judea and Samaria may be drastically closer to breaking permanently, IDF Radio revealed Monday - as it has an elaborate contingency plan in place to improve the entire road infrastructure in the region, across a 300 kilometer (186 miles) span. 

The plan has been formulated over more than two decades, sources revealed to the news agency, and includes 44 significant road update programs to strengthen Jewish communities in Judea-Samaria. 

The plans have not yet been launched, sources say - but 24 of the programs have been pre-approved thus far, and may be implemented in the not-too-distant future. 

Approved roads would see new highways built between Salfit (Hamas village next to Ariel - ed.) and (nearby) Bruchin; Modi'in and Givat Ze'ev; Dir Amar and Bitilu; a road bypassing Salfit to the North; Tzomet Anatot to Route 1; a road bypassing Tekoa; a connecting route between Shiloh and the Alon road; and roads bypassing Bituneh and Hawara. 

Other roads slated for confirmation include a bypass through Leben-a-Shrika, a road from Sha'ar Hagai to Mevo Horon, a bypass from Silat a' d'Har, a road from Ya'abed to Ta'anech, a road from the Ben Shemen interchange to Atarot (near Jerusalem), a bypass through Bitilu, a bypass through Harvata, a road from Har Adar to Nabi Samuel (near Jerusalem), a Baka-al-Sharika bypass, Route 531 to "Al-Fundak," a Hawara bypass, and an Ein 'Arik bypass.

Still other planned routes include a route from Rt. 80 to Ma'ale Adumim, a road from Latrun to Rt. 443, an Eastern Givat Ze'ev bypass, a Beit Sahour bypass, a connection between Rt. 45 and Dolev, a Mahula bypass, a road between Rt. 443 and Ein 'Arik, a road between Ofra and Ba'al Hazor, a Kfar Tlot bypass, an extension of the Walaja bypass, an Ouja bypass, a road between Nahliel and Ras-Karakar, a turnoff from Route 90 to Almog, and an Eastern Halhul bypass. 

According to IDF Radio, in order to execute the plans, the State of Israel would have to declare some 25,000 dunams (6177 acres) of land as "state land." 

The roads would provide a huge boost to Jews and Arabs alike in Judea-Samaria - leaving leftists fuming over Israel "deepening its presence in Palestinian territory." Netanyahu could, in theory, implement the road construction systematically as he builds more Jewish homes in the region, leftists claim. 

IDF Radio also revealed that part of the program was instituted in "a deal Netanyahu, the settlers, and the right-wing coalition closed two weeks ago" and that more road construction may be on the agenda in the not-so-distant future. 

Plan 'contrary to Two-State Solution' 

Leftists, of course, are livid over the revelation. 

"If you look at the plans and the layout of roads approved in the years after Oslo, as well as those of the planned roads that have not yet been approved, you can clearly see that - contrary to all official statements made - Israeli governments have not internalized the West's idea that an independent Palestinian state will be built one day," says leftist researcher Dror Etkis. "It is clear that Israel continues to plan bypass roads to establish the actual barrier that exists today between Israel and the Palestinians." 

Defense Ministry officials verbally rolled their eyes at the report, however, noting that it "is trying to create news where none exists." 

"This refers to a longstanding program, the overwhelming majority of which we don't plan to implement now," an official stated to the daily, noting that there are very few actual roads being built.

"There is a significant security need for them [the roads], for the benefit of both Israeli and Palestinian commuters," he added. 

The statement did not prevent extreme leftist group Peace Now from whining over the revelation, however. 

"The top priority of the Government of Israel is the settlers, despite the fact that they only constitute 4% of the population," it claimed. "The government therefore plans to build up a huge road infrastructure."

"Instead of investing in the periphery [likely the North and the Negev - ed.], the government continues to serve the settlers and thus maintain the stability of the coalition," it added. 

Yigal Dilmoni, vice president of the Yesha Council, argued that the infrastructure is far more useful and critical than Peace Now purports it to be.

"It is an area which is under Israeli control for over 47 years, in which live hundreds of thousands of Israelis and Arabs," Dilmoni fired. "Is there is someone who thinks you need to leave it alone, that you don't need to plan infrastructure?"

"The problem is not the design," he continued. "The problem is often that [these plans are] not implemented in practice." 

MK Yariv Levin of Likud agreed. 

"Freezing paving new highways in Judea-Samaria is another actualization of the discrimination residents there suffer relative to other regions of the country," he stated. "The right to travel on safe and fast roads should be given to all Israeli citizens everywhere, and the discrimination that exists today is unjust and must cease immediately." 

"I call on all relevant ministries to allocate all the resources necessary to lay these vital roads - safely, securely, and without delay," he continued. 

Meanwhile, leftist MKs remain to be in denial over Judea-Samaria's role in - potentially - solving the current housing crisis. 

"It is beginning to sound like a bad joke; despite international criticism of the government for settlement construction, it continues to build and certify projects in the territories frantically, as if there is a housing crisis within the Green Line," MK Michal Rozen (Meretz) said. "The roads would require the confiscation of thousands of acres of Palestinian land, and this is another step for the extreme Right to terminate the Two-State Solution." 

If anything, last month, Housing Ministry figures revealed that the housing crisis has critically deepened - in no small part due to the "covert" building freeze in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria. 

The construction freeze has checked the natural growth of a region that is reportedly over 90% unpopulated. It also, together with the green light given to rampant illegal Arab construction in eastern Jerusalem, is part of what is charged as being an attempt to establish facts on the ground to divide Jerusalem and establish the groundwork for a Palestinian state. 




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