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Yariv Oppenheimer
Peace Now report: Settlers enjoy luxury roads
Organization says State invests large sums in constructing highways for settlers in West Bank, while shortage in funds leaves infrastructure within Green Line lacking
While the State of Israel invests millions in constructing roads in the West Bank, it neglects infrastructure development within the Green Line, thus contributing to the increase in road accidents in the country, the Peace Now organization claimed Sunday.

 

According to a report compiled by the group, 33 kilometers of roads are currently under construction in the area east of the separation fence, with an investment of some NIS 315 million.

 

West Bank road. Used by a few settlements

 

"The State spends at least NIS 50,000 for each settler's vehicle, on infrastructure and new roads. While people in Israel get killed on a daily basis due to a shortage in funds for infrastructure, the settlers get luxury roads," said Peace Now Secretary-General Yariv Oppenheimer.

 

The roads in question include a road that is designed to serve four settlements with 483 vehicles and 2,570 residents; the cost of construction stands at NIS 142.5 million. Another road would serve the 762 residents of one settlement and cost NIS 35 million.

 

'Luxury road' in Gush Etzion

 

The group noted that following a series of horrific crashes on the Arava highway recently, it was reported that the construction of a barrier between the lanes was being delayed due to the high cost of the project. Meanwhile, a similar separation barrier has been built along a highway in the southern Mount Hebron area, but was later dismantled after the High Court deemed it illegal. The cost of the barrier's construction and later dismantling stood at NIS 80 million.

 

The report further noted that according to the Central Bureau of Statistics, the State has over the years invested much more in paving roads in the West Bank than in Israel. In recent years, some 17% of road construction took place in the West Bank, although the settler population makes up only 3.5 of the Israeli population.

 

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