Palestinians in the occupied West Bank have been denied use of a main road by Israeli settlers and occupation forces, Haaretz reported today.
In July, Israeli settlers from Halamish colony "built an outpost on the east side" of a nearby road used by both settler and Palestinians.
The settlers also put up a sign in Arabic, reading: "The area where you are now is under the control of the Jews. Entry by Arabs to this area is completely prohibited, danger of death!"
In recent months, Haaretz reported, "an army unit stationed at two military roadblocks on the road — one next to the outpost and the other a few hundred metres south of it — has conducted prolonged inspections of Palestinians and their vehicles at the roadblocks."
According to testimonies, the soldiers are searching, harassing and delaying Palestinians; some "reported that they asked the soldiers why they were treating them this way, and said the soldiers told them outright it was so that Palestinians would take the detour."
In addition, settlers recently "began praying on Saturday morning in the middle of the road between the outpost and the settlement", while "on Passover the prayers were also held in the interim days of the weeklong holiday, thus blocking the road to Palestinians for several hours for each day".
Haaretz stated that "the closure of a few hundred metres of road 450 to Palestinians will enable it to become an 'interior' road between Halamish and the outpost built to its east, which is constantly expanding"; the eastern part of road 450, the paper added, has been blocked since October 2000.
In July-December 2017, Israeli occupation authorities closed the road entirely to local Palestinian traffic, Haaretz noted, redirecting it to "a path leading from the road to the village of Deir Nizam".
This restriction, which "forced Palestinians to make a large detour to reach their destinations", was "extended a few times until December 24", but was not extended after that "as the result of legal measures taken by local residents through human-rights lawyer Neta Amar Schiff".