İrem UZUN -TDO- Palestinian leaders have slammed the Israeli defence ministry's approval of planning for a road that would separate Palestinians and Israeli commuters east of Jerusalem, a highly controversial move meant to help advance an illegal settlement plan in the strategically sensitive E1 region.
Israeli Caretaker Defence Minister Naftali Bennett said on Monday the "sovereignty road" would allow Israel to continue building in the highly controversial area between Jerusalem and a settlement bloc directly to the east of the disputed city. The so-called “sovereignty road” is meant to help spur a controversial settlement plan in the West Bank known as E1. “We are giving a green light to the ‘sovereignty road’ today” to connect Jerusalem and the Ma’aleh Adumim settlement, Bennett said. “The project will improve the quality of life of the residents of the area and prevent unnecessary friction with the Palestinian population”. Bennett added that the road will enable the continuation of settlement buildings in the West Bank.
Palestinian foreign ministry condemned the move, saying the planned road will isolate Palestinian towns in the Jerusalem vicinity as Israel advances its construction of the E1 settlement project. "This would close the door once and for all to the establishment of a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital," it said. The ministry called on the international community, including the UN Security Council and the European Union, to immediately take action to stop Israeli violations against the Palestinian territories. "This move delivers a severe blow to all international efforts aimed at launching a peace process and serious negotiations leading to the implementation of the two-state solution," the statement said.