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File photo: Gush Etzion
Photo: Yoav Zitun
Palestinians join West Bank bypass roads protest
Bereaved families and Samaria Regional Council heads protesting outside PM's Residence joined by leaders of Gush Etzion Palestinian village, who claim existing roads were intended for donkeys, not modern vehicles; village elder decries congestion on roads, calls on gov't to modernize them; Samaria Council head: Struggle is everyone's, Jews and Arabs alike.

On the third week of their protest and three days since commencing a hunger strike, bereaved families who lost loved ones in West Bank terror attacks and the heads of the Samaria Regional Council who joined them received further support, this time from residents of a Gush Etzion Palestinian village one of the planned bypass roads is expected to pass through.

 

 

Residents of the village contacted the protest's leaders to voice their support. One of the village's elders told the protesters camped out opposite the Prime Minister's Residence that bypass roads were just as essential to the region's Palestinian denizens.

 

Protesters opposite the Prime Minister's Residence were joined by Palestinians calling to expand existing roads (Photo: Samaria Regional Council)
Protesters opposite the Prime Minister's Residence were joined by Palestinians calling to expand existing roads (Photo: Samaria Regional Council)

 

"The road that exists today that spans the Tunnels Checkpoint all the way to Shoket Junction is being used by all of the area's residents, which creates serious traffic jams. We have people who work in Jerusalem's Hadassah Ein Karem Hospital, laborers and people who work in commerce and tourism, and all of them pass through that road alone," the elder said.

 

"A Palestinian wishing to drive to work in the morning who wants to get there in 30 minutes has to get up at five in the morning, otherwise he risks spending several hours stuck in a traffic jam, from six until eleven in the morning," he continued.

 

The families and local council heads are protesting budgets promised to buttress various security components not being delivered to settlements and going towards the creation of four main bypass roads going around Qalandiya, Lubban, Huwara and Al-Arroub.

 

Protesters are demanding a budgetary article determining the precise monetary expenditure expected to be spent on the aforementioned projects.

 

Samaria Regional Council chief Dagan said the struggle was common to both Jews and Arabs (Photo: Barel Efraim)
Samaria Regional Council chief Dagan said the struggle was common to both Jews and Arabs (Photo: Barel Efraim)

 

The Palestinian also commented on road safety. "Everybody has to use a road that was originally paved for donkeys. Nowadays donkeys have been replaced with semi-trailers and articulated buses. Everything is so congested, and the road simply can't handle that much traffic. It needs to be expanded and put in order," he opined.

 

Yossi Dagan, head of the Samaria Regional Council and one of the protest's leaders, spoke about the unexpected support. "This struggle is everyone's, and now we found out the Arab public in Judea and Samaria is also part of it. We were contacted by village leaders who wished to voice their support," he said.

 

"When it comes down to it, it's also a struggle for life-saving infrastructures, both for Jews and Arabs. I call on the Israeli government to come to its senses and approve in a budgetary line item—and not merely media promises—the paving of roads and other security measures in Judea and Samaria," Dagan demanded.

 

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