End of Occupation » No 1039

How Israel’s road projects are ensuring apartheid is here to stay

The expansion of settler bypass roads in the West Bank has been central to turning Israel’s ‘temporary occupation’ into a permanent one-state reality.

By Ahmad Al-Bazz and Edo Konrad

As the world began reeling from the outbreak of COVID-19 in March, Israeli authorities were busy with a string of infrastructural projects across the occupied West Bank. They include installing a new section of the separation wall, building bypass bridges for Israeli settlers, digging tunnels, and approving Palestinian-only separation roads in various locations east and southeast of Jerusalem. In pursuing these initiatives, Israel has been working hard to achieve its future geographic and demographic vision for the West Bank, turning what was once described by many as a “temporary occupation” into a permanent reality of apartheid.

One of these projects has been the expansion of Route 60 — commonly referred to as the “Tunnels Road” — the main highway leading from Jerusalem southwards to the West Bank settlements between Bethlehem and Hebron. Located between Beit Jala and Bethlehem, the road lies between two giant concrete walls and serves vehicles with yellow Israeli license plates only.

The expansion, which began a year ago and is slated for completion in 2025, includes adding two traffic lanes and building two new tunnels next to the existing ones. The goal is to double the entrance capacity of settlers traveling to Jerusalem from the Gush Etzion area, just south of Bethlehem. In order to widen the road, the Civil Administration — the arm of Israel’s military government that governs the 2.8 million Palestinians in the occupied West Bank — confiscated around three acres of land from the Palestinian village of al-Khader and the city of Beit Jala. (more…)

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End of Occupation » No 1038

A resounding message from Bethlehem: End the occupation

Sami Abu Shehadeh

26 December 2020

Palestinians have the right to enjoy a future of peace based upon justice, tolerance and respect

The political developments that have taken place in 2020 should be carefully understood and grasped in order to make 2021 a better year for all.

The Trump administration is leaving behind a legacy of hateful incitement and the use of religion as a weapon against the rights of the Palestinian people.

The Israeli government will soon be disbanded and a fourth election in less than two years will take place in the spring, yet there is no indication that its annexation policies in the occupied territories, its incitement and the institutionalised discrimination against Palestinian citizens of Israel are going to end any time soon.

This is the context in which we should understand this year’s Christmas in the occupied Holy Land: Bethlehem, Jesus’s birthplace, had a “silent night” with very few pilgrims and hardly any tourist activities, due to Covid-19. The city is besieged by thousands of new illegal Israeli settlement units being built on its land. (more…)

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End of Occupation » No 1037

O Little Town Of Bethlehem

By Francis A. Boyle

03 December, 2010

 It was December of 1991 and I was serving as Legal Advisor to the Palestinian Delegation to the Middle East Peace Negotiations in Washington DC. The Israelis were stalling, not even negotiating in bad faith, and the Americans under Baker and Ross were doing nothing to get the negotiations started.

This had been going on for 3 weeks and Christmas was fast approaching. Those of us on the Palestinian Team who were Christian were wondering if we were going to be able to get home for Christmas–many Palestinians are Christian, the original Christians, going back to Jesus Christ and the Apostles themselves. I would periodically check in with my wife and 2 sons at the time–little boys. My poor, sweet wife had to do all the Christmas preparations by herself without me. (more…)

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End of Occupation » No 1036

Occupiers of the World Unite!

By Michael Sfard

Occupation. Thousands of members of the occupied nation are refugees in the countries of the region. The organization that represents the occupied is illegal, and many of its activists are under arrest. For decades international human rights organizations have been reporting that the freedom of expression of regime opponents in the occupied territory is limited, and that attempting to achieve independence is considered sabotage.

The occupier built settlements in the occupied territory and transferred hundreds of thousands of its citizens to them. Demonstrations against the occupation and the settlements and in favor of independence encounter tremendous force, including the use of rubber-tipped bullets, and their organizers are arrested. Even human rights activists from the occupied nation, who are working for the benefit of the occupied, are a target of incitement and delegitimization. (more…)

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