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The Cross of Bethlehem

The Cross of Bethlehem II

New Road Annexes East Jerusalem to Israel

East Jerusalem linked to Begin Boulevard and Road 443



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Road 443

Road 443 | near Beit Horon


The Banality of Evil

The banality of evil: in order to perform evil needs food and resources. These must be transported. Airlifting everything would be quite expensive; thus, roads are needed. Much international attention is given to illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank; however, the roads linking these settlements to the inner side of the Green Line are often forgotten until something unexpected happens. Two weeks ago, by mid-November 2011, the city of Jerusalem began a main road project leading to the de facto annexation of East Jerusalem to Israel. Unsurprisingly, the Palestinian Authority has not been heard on the issue. After all, its budgets depend on the approval of the Israeli government. Moreover, the authority seems more interested in its internal wars with Hamas.

The facts are banal: a road will connect the capital's northeastern neighborhoods, namely Pisgat Ze'ev, Neve Yaakov, Anatot, Shoafat, and Beit Hanina, with Jerusalem's main traffic artery, Menachem Begin Boulevard. Shoafat and Beit Hanina are populated by Palestinians and part of East Jerusalem. Anatot is the headquarters location of the Defensive Shield Operation events described in The Cross of Bethlehem. Then, an additional project – named Road 20 – will soon link these neighborhoods to Route 443.

This is part of an Israeli policy to strengthen bonds between neighborhoods across the Green Line and the rest of the city. The project is implemented by the Moriah Jerusalem Development Company, and will take 14 months to complete at a cost of over NIS 150 million.

The Strategy of Evil

“Gush Dan” – namely “Dan’s Block” in Hebrew – is the name given to the seven cities occupying central Israel, with Tel Aviv at the very center. This metropolis is the financial and commercial center of the country. All Israeli Administration publications claim that Jerusalem is the capital and center of the Zionist entity. However, on the ground that’s not so. The testimony is political; most countries, including the USA, do not recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. The testimony is also financial; the Israeli economy is run from the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange and key financial institutions - like the Diamonds Stock Exchange – are spread between Tel Aviv and neighbor Ramat Gan. The testimony is also military; at the very center of Tel Aviv – an area known as the “Kirya,” meaning the “town” – is the imposing needle of the Ministry of Defense, known also as the “Marganit Building.” It was built by a foreign contractor since Israel lacks technologies needed for building such structures. Underneath the building is the infamous “Bor” (hole), an underground bunker from where the Israeli army is run when there is no war. From a sumptuous office on the fifth floor, the Israeli Minister of Defense runs most of the country.

The Iron Triangle is also in this area. This is a mocking reference to the virtual triangle drawn by the Hakirya, Tel Hashomer and Tzrifin IDF bases, where most of the administrative bases of the IDF are. This list can be easily expanded since this is clearly Israel’s heart.

Gush Dan and Jerusalem – the formal capital – are connected by a narrow corridor along Israel’s Highway #1. This is one of the most strategic fault-lines of the State of Israel. Breaking it apart is a real possibility, especially at a narrow point known as “Shaar HaGai” (“Narrow Valley’s Gate” in Hebrew), where Jerusalem’s mountains connect the seashore plains. It may be one of the major targets in a future conflict between Israel and Hezbollah.

Thus Israel is for years now trying to widen the corridor connecting Jerusalem and Tel Aviv through the construction of a secondary access road. This is known as Route 443, which links north Jerusalem and the West Bank settlements with the city of Modi'in-Maccabim-Re'ut and Tel Aviv.

This project is military in concept and implementation. The route passes near several major IDF bases, including Beit Horon and Mitkan Adam. Moreover, the city of Modi'in-Maccabim-Re'ut was planned by the army and settled with military officers during its first years (when it was three different settlements, which were merged into a city in 2003). Specifically, the Re'ut part of the project was led in 1987 by the IDF officers’ association.

What was begun last month is the last part of the project. The relatively short stretch of new road being built would in fact create a new highway between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. The new part of the highway passes through East Jerusalem, while the parts called Route 443 cross the West Bank.

The Implications of Evil

“Routes are good, everybody will benefit from them,” some readers may be thinking by now. Well, reality is different. Israel prohibits Palestinians from using road 443, despite its passing through Palestinian territories. Israel built a wall separating Palestinian towns from accessing it, as shown in the picture above. IDF checkpoints (mainly the Maccabim Checkpoint where the road enters Israeli territory and the Atarot Checkpoint where it enters Jerusalem’s jurisdictional area) make sure Palestinians won’t access it from other points.

Neither part of this road is legal, since the plan designates occupied territory for the occupying power permanent infrastructures. This is a violation of international conventions and agreements regarding occupied territories. Moreover, the project demands further confiscation of Palestinian lands – this time in Beit Hanina – which is another crime against the occupied population.

“Divide and Conquer” is probably the best description of the Israeli policy towards the Arab world. It is also known as the “Salami System:” slice and eat, slice and eat; accordingly “eating it/him/her without salt” is a Hebrew euphemism for an easy target, which in English would be usually referred as “a piece of cake.” “Shiber shiber, beit beit, dar dar, zenga zenga” is Arabic for “inch inch, house house, apartment apartment, alleyway alleyway. The Israeli music producer Noy Alooshe re-mixed these words from the May 2, 2011, Gadhafi’s speech with a song by rappers Pitbull and T-Pain and used this catchy phrase as its central theme. The clip became a worldwide hit. Three out of the four words would be easily recognizable by most Hebrew speakers. And if not the words, they would recognize the policy: Israel is annexing the West Bank and East Jerusalem “inch inch, house house, apartment apartment, alleyway alleyway.”

Would the Israeli Administration crimes get the same international treatment as the Arab League is giving to Syria? Or NATO to Libya? Or the USA to Afghanistan and Iraq? How can the USA, NATO, the Arab League and related organizations claim to be impartial and lawful when they differentiate in the implementation of international law? Justice demands one law to all, and Israel is clearly beyond its boundaries.

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