‘Road Apartheid’ Debunked

On Sunday (Oct. 16), Palestinian terrorists killed three young Israelis in a drive-by terrorist shooting in the West Bank (pictured at right). In response to pointed warnings of more attacks of this type, the IDF imposed restrictions on Palestinian traffic on certain West Bank roads.

Though the road closures were temporary and aimed at preventing further loss of life, several media outlets quickly spun this story in a different direction ? suggesting they¬†are part of a larger Israeli plan to implement ‘road apartheid’ in the West Bank. The Guardian stated:

The Israeli military has blocked Palestinians from driving on the main artery through the West Bank in a first step towards what Israeli human rights groups say is total “road apartheid” being enforced throughout the occupied territory.

The New York Times also quoted a Palestinian official making the ‘road apartheid’ claim, and The Scotsman said:

On the ground, the condition of Palestinian civilians seems to be deteriorating further… Israel is moving ahead with plans to make permanent a ban on Palestinian use of main roads in the West Bank.

Two falsities are disseminated with these media-driven claims:

1) Israel is not ‘moving ahead’ with plans to ‘permanently ban’ Palestinian traffic on West Bank roads. What has occurred ? in the wake of Sunday’s shooting and the many others that preceded it ? is further discussion of a how separate road systems might make the West Bank safer for travel, given the ongoing threat of drive-by terrorist fire. Such discussions are always conducted while balancing the humanitarian concerns to peaceful Palestinians.

2) The term ‘apartheid’ is once again, absurdly brought into the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. HonestReporting previously provided a side-by-side comparison of the two situations that debunked the association vis-a-vis the security fence. That comparison is just as relevant here. And as former US Mideast negotiator Dennis Ross stated in an op-ed this week:

Yasir Arafat loved to equate the Palestinian struggle for statehood with the struggle of South Africans against apartheid, but his was always a false analogy. In South Africa, less than 15 percent of the population controlled all the power and wealth and subjected the other 85 percent to a degrading, inhuman and segregated existence…

Compare that to the Palestinian movement for self-determination. Arabs today remain a minority in the area that encompasses Israel, the West Bank and Gaza. To be sure, given demographic trends, Jews will become a minority in that area within this decade, but even by 2050, Arabs would outnumber Jews by only 60 percent to 40 percent.

The international community supports a two-state solution because it recognizes that there are two national movements with populations in rough equality. That was never the case in South Africa.

As Israel continues to consider methods of protecting its citizenry from Palestinian terror, HonestReporting encourages subscribers to be on the lookout in your local media for unfounded claims of West Bank ‘apartheid roads’, and respond with the facts if they appear.

Comments to The Guardian: letters@guardian.co.uk

Comments to The Scotsman: click here

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