Israel is building an East Jerusalem ring road at a cost of $250 million, "Reuters" reports. The central and southern sections of the eight kilometer road are already under construction including a bridge near the Arab village of Sur Bahir near Armon Hantaziv. The road will stretch from near Har Homa in southern Jerusalem to the Zetim Interchange near Maaleh Adumim east of Jerusalem.
A tender for the northern section of the road including a 1.6 kilometer tunnel east of the Mount of Olives will be issued later this year.
Jerusalem deputy mayor Arieh King told "Reuters," "It doesn’t unite the settlements. It’s not about uniting borders or municipal lines. But it does connect them more on the daily level - whether it’s studies, tourism or commerce. And then in practice you create a huge Jerusalem metropolis."
Israeli officials say the road, known as the American Road, will ease traffic congestion for both Israelis and Palestinians living in the area. But Palestinians have told "Reuters" that the new road will primarily benefit settlers, and will further undermine the feasibility of East Jerusalem as the capital of the state they seek in the West Bank and Gaza.
"This project cuts off Palestinian neighborhoods within the city from one another," Fadi Al-Hidmi, the Palestinian Minister of Jerusalem Affairs told "Reuters" in an email.
News of the new road comes as Israel contemplates annexing up to 30% of the West Bank on July 1 including the Jewish settlements to the east of Jerusalem that the road will connect.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on June 15, 2020
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