Israel reopens road to Ramallah in goodwill gesture

Israeli authorities have reopened a road, closed since the start of the Second Intifada, connecting Beitin to Ramallah as a goodwill gesture towards the PA. 

Palestinian Beitin

A Palestinian from Beitin throws a gas canister at Israeli soldiers. (Issam Rimawi/Flash 90)

Israeli authorities reopened a road connecting Ramallah with the village of Beitin to the northeast as a “goodwill gesture” to the Palestinian Authority. The road, which also serves the Israeli settlements of Beit El and Psagot, was closed in 2000 for security reasons.

The inauguration ceremony on Monday was attended by members Israeli and Palestinian liaison officers, members of the village council of Beitin and representatives from the Palestinian Ministry of Local Governance. Prior to reopening, the road underwent a process of leveling and repaving in order to make it more usable. The route from Beitin to Ramallah will now be only 5 km instead of 20 km.

The reopening was described by the Israeli Civil Administration as a “goodwill gesture.” The road was closed in 2000 at the start of the Second Intifada when Israel began to implement a series of checkpoints and road closures to prevent Palestinian terrorists from killing Israelis. The road was still available for use by those with special permits or VIPs from international organizations.

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Israel has removed hundreds of checkpoints since 2008 for the purpose of easing the inconvenience they cause to Palestinian commuters. Restrictions of movement are often relaxed as goodwill measures to encourage peace negotiations with the PA.

According to the head of the Beitin village council, Tawfiq Abdel-Fattah, the road opening applies only to private vehicles, and excludes public transit and trucks.

Beitin is a small village of around 3,000 residents. It is located on the site of the Biblical city of Bethel.