The Palestinian Foreign Ministry has condemned a decision by the Israeli authorities to open a road that separates Palestinian communities from a Jewish-only settlement northeast of Jerusalem.
“The opening of this road comes within the framework of Israel’s ongoing efforts to undermine any chance of reaching a political solution,” the ministry said in a Thursday statement.
It added: "Israel continues to impose an apartheid regime in occupied Palestine.”
According to Israeli daily Haaretz, the Israeli authorities recently reopened the controversial highway in a formal inauguration ceremony.
Dubbed "Apartheid Road", Route 4370 links the Jewish-only Geva Binyamin Settlement to the Jerusalem-Tel Aviv highway.
“The road is divided in the middle by a high wall,” Haaretz explained. “The western side serves Palestinians who cannot enter Jerusalem, while the eastern side is reserved for Israeli settlers.”
The opening ceremony was reportedly attended by Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Leon, Transport Minister Yisrael Katz and Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan.
Katz later described the move as “an important step towards linking Binyamin Council residents [i.e., settlers] to Jerusalem”.
According to Haaretz, the road was built over a decade ago. It had remained closed, however, due to a long-running dispute between the Israeli army and police over who should man checkpoints along the highway.