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Preparations in Jerusalem for Obama visit Photo: Gil Yohanan
Preparations in Jerusalem for Obama visit Photo: Gil Yohanan
 
  Photo: AP

 

Road trip in the Holy Land

Op-ed: Obama will be very surprised by some of the things he will see on the way from Jerusalem to Ramallah

Hagai Segal
Published: 03.17.13, 10:53 / Israel Opinion

What will US President Obama see as he makes his way along Rout 60 from Jerusalem to the Muqata in Ramallah? Many things one cannot see from the Oval Office. He will not see any checkpoints along the way. There are no checkpoints along Route 60, the main highway in the West Bank. Israeli and Palestinian vehicles travel on this road regularly. All the descriptions of an "apartheid road" are nothing more than leftist fairytales. There are many other similar myths, by the way, but we will not go into them here. I will focus only on what the president will see from his car window on Thursday.

 

As soon as his motorcade leaves Jerusalem, Obama will see the first Palestinian village, Hizma. Experts have linked the site to the biblical Azmaveth, but there is nothing biblical in modern-day Hizma, only huge villas. The Palestinians are expressing their sorrow over the occupation by starting private construction projects that would not shame any affluent New York suburb. Four and five-storey homes can be seen everywhere. Any American would love to live in such homes.

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The Jewish community near Hizma, Adam, also has nice houses, but they are not as big as those in the Palestinian village. Someone in the president's entourage should turn his attention to the fence surrounding Adam, to give our guest an indication of Israel's security-related problems on the West Bank front. Only in the settlements there is a need for a security fence. The Arab communities do not need such fences.

 

About two minutes later the presidential convoy will pass by a new, very legal outpost. The Israeli government set it up last year to house the Migron evacuees. It is hard to believe Obama has come across such a crowded community of shacks in Washington. The settlers – the supposed rulers of the land – live in the shabbiest structures between Jerusalem and Ramallah. It will be a very nice humanitarian gesture on the president's part if he stops to say hello to the residents. A president who negotiates with Iran can talk to settlers as well. Speaking to them will be a small compensation for the decision to ban Ariel University students from attending Obama's speech in Jerusalem's International Convention Center.

 

Along the beautiful segment of Route 60, between the Machmesh passage and the Assaf Junction, the president will be able to see Jordan, giving him an indication of how small this country is. There is barely enough room for one country here, let alone two.

 

By the way, the village on the right is called Deir Dibwan. It is also filled with castles built after 1967. The Palestinians do not need permits from Israel or any other element to build extensively. It is perfectly fine that they are building, but they should not complain that the Jews are oppressing them. If the settlers would have built at the same pace, the US would have sent the Sixth Fleet a long time ago.

 

We are almost there, Mr. President. Here is Beitin, which is named after Beit-El. We will soon reach Ramallah. Send my regards to Abbas, and tell him you were very impressed with the view.

 

 

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