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Israel embarrasses America with roads through Palestinian land

`Army' road slashes through Arab land

A new road to Tel Romeida - the six-family Jewish settlement neighborhood in Hebron - is being paved through Palestinian-owned property in the city and involves expropriation of land. However, as "it is an Israel Defense Forces road, it does not require the approval of the defense minister," according to officials in Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz's office.

American officials have already asked for clarifications concerning the road, which is slated to pass through area H2 - Palestinian-held territory - and is supposed to be subject to the Arab municipality's own planning regulations.

Sources in Mofaz's office say he knows nothing about the road, whose construction, they added, was decided on by Major General Yair Naveh of the Central Command.

If this is indeed the case, it is a departure from the custom of the defense minister personally intervening in the event of any change in Hebron, particularly in the Tel Romeida area.

The new road is being planned now at a time of a "fragile calm" in the territories, with the cease-fire in its infancy. It is to be paved through the heart of Palestinian territory, in an open violation of the Hebron agreement. Its route is parallel to the existing Shuhada road leading to Tel Romeida, which has been closed to Palestinians for the last eight years.

Civil Administration officials began handing out expropriation orders signed by Naveh two weeks ago. According to these "security needs orders," the five-meter wide, 470-meter-long route from Beit Hadassah to Tel Romeida passes through Mameluke-era archaeological sites, a Muslim cemetery, wells and olive groves.

The Hebron Municipality and other groups have stated their opposition to the Civil Administration, with some figures appealing to the legal adviser of the army's administration in the West Bank. Attorney Shlomo Laker is representing two of the groups.

Some of the people who own property where the road is due to pass have been prevented from reaching their lands for the last four years because they are near settlers' homes. The landowners fear the paving of the road will mean a de facto expropriation of their property.

Laker argues in his appeal that the new road is not meant for security purposes, but is political in nature and aimed at creating contiguity between Tel Romeida and the larger settlement enclave, and at limiting Palestinians' access to their property.

"The orders are determining a political reality without giving the Israeli public the right and possibility of deciding what it thinks about the Jewish settlement in the heart of Hebron and its expansion," he stated.

A Hebron community group that has appealed land expropriations in the past said it would go to the High Court of Justice to petition against the road.

The IDF Spokesman's Office said in response that there were terror incidents on the main road to Tel Romeida that have prevented residents from leaving and have kept the security forces from dealing with various incidents. Therefore, the army decided to pave an emergency route to connect the neighborhood with the rest of the Jewish settlement in Hebron. It will be used by security forces in emergencies only, to deal with the security needs of the residents. At all other times, the road will be open to Palestinian pedestrian traffic.

Because of the need to pave the route, stated the IDF, some land was expropriated in the Tel Romeida area, most of it agricultural. The owners have been given the opportunity to appeal. 


Haaretz, "`Army' road slashes through Arab land", 28 February 2005.

"The Insider" mailing list article, 28 February 2005.

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Tags: Israel, roads, Palestinian, land, illegal, road, army, Jewish, settlements, land-grab, , conspiracy theories.

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