Friday, February 15, 2013

colonial roads and walls

From a reader:  "To speed up their travel from dwellings in the West Bank south of Jerusalem, Israel’s settlers have persuaded the government to plough a six-lane motorway (in some places it has ten lanes) through the Arab-populated town. ....Before the municipality approves such big building projects in the Jewish-inhabited districts of Jerusalem, it has to submit a detailed plan, routinely holding public consultations to hear objections. But the residents of Beit Safafa awoke in November to find bulldozers digging outside their homes. Belatedly they headed to court, but the judge allowed work to continue while she pondered her ruling and then rejected the petition. Police have broken up demonstrations and handcuffed protesters for what the municipality calls vandalism.
Walls as high as first-floor windows are to be built to shield residents. The municipality says it will cover 180 metres of the road, but has rejected pleas for a tunnel. “They could never dissect a Jewish neighbourhood the same way,” says Meir Margalit, one of the few Jewish councillors to have rallied to the residents’ cause."