Israeli settlers have flattened many acres of Palestinian land in the occupied West Bank to pave the way for the construction of a major new ring road in Jerusalem, which will connect Jewish settlements located north and south of the city.
According to a report by the Palestinian Information Center on Thursday, Jewish settlers on Wednesday unleashed their bulldozers and laid waste to many acres of Palestinian land in Qusra town, south of Nablus in the occupied West Bank.
The report, citing local official Ghassan Daghlas, added that the move was aimed at building The American Road, an eight-kilometer bypass, which would connect in particular Esh Kodesh outpost to Migdalim settlement.
He added that the ring road, upon completion, would also link all Israeli settlements and outposts in the north of the West Bank to those in the Jordan Valley.
According to an exclusive report by Reuters on Monday, the central and southern sections of The American Road were already being constructed and that bids for the northernmost part of the road would be issued toward the end of the year, at a projected cost of $187 million.
The whole project is forecast to cost more than a quarter of a billion dollars, it further said.”The Israeli regime says the controversial road will ease traffic congestion for both Israeli settlers and Palestinians living in the area.
However, Palestinians say the new road will first and foremost benefit Israeli settlers, and further undermine the feasibility of East Jerusalem as the capital of their future state they seek in the occupied West Bank and the blockaded Gaza Strip.
“This project cuts off Palestinian neighborhoods within the city from one another,” Reuters quoted Palestinian Minister of Jerusalem Affairs Fadi al-Hidmi as saying.
The American Road is part of Israel’s “illegal” ring road project which “surrounds occupied East Jerusalem to further connect Israeli settlements and sever the occupied Palestinian capital from the rest of the West Bank,” he added.
The Israeli settlements in the West Bank have mushroomed during the regime’s successive administrations since the aftermath of the Six-Day War in 1967.
Currently, more than 400,000 Israelis live in settler units there, with another 200,000 in East Jerusalem. Palestinians say these increasing settlements make a future state unviable.
The Israeli regime was particularly emboldened by American President Donald Trump in January, when he officially unveiled his much-condemned Middle East plan, the so-called deal of the century.
Trump’s scheme, which has already been categorically rejected and condemned by Palestinians, largely gives in to Israel’s demands while creating a Palestinian state with limited control over its own security and borders, enshrining the occupied Jerusalem as Israel’s “capital” and allowing the regime to annex settlements in the West Bank and the Jordan Valley.
Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is facing a number of criminal indictments, has repeatedly said that he would begin cabinet-level discussions for annexing more areas in the West Bank on July 1, in accordance with Trump’s proposal.
In response to Trump’s highly-provocative scheme and Israel’s annexation plans, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas declared the end of all agreements signed with Israel and Washington on May 19.