Israel Opens West Bank Road To Palestinian Traffic
Monday, 03 August 2009

Israel on Sunday eased travel restrictions on Palestinians in a major West Bank city, opening a road to Palestinian traffic for the first time in nine years, Israeli security officials said.

The officials said the route -- known to Palestinians as Jaber Road and to Israelis as Tsir Hebron --- would be open only to Palestinian motorists who live in the Hebron area.

Hebron governor Hussein al-Araj said the measure was an attempt by Israel to cover up for its continued settlement activities, which its main ally, the United States, wants stopped. He called on Palestinians not to use the road.

"This decision is an Israeli ploy designed to divert attention from settlement activity," Araj said. "I call on Palestinians not to use the road because this would amount to helping Israel campaign to improve its image."

Israel has been easing travel restrictions for Palestinians the West Bank in a declared bid to shore up pro-Western President Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian economy.

Palestinian officials say a network of Israeli checkpoints and roadblocks still limits economic growth in the West Bank.

Israel closed off Jaber Road to Palestinian traffic in 2000 after a violent uprising. It restricted travel on the road to Israeli settlers.

The road stretches from Hebron's highly sensitive Tomb of the Patriarchs, a site revered by both Muslims and Jews, to the settlement bloc of Kiryat Arba.

Source: bdnews24.com

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