With Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promising to seize the E-1 region of the occupied West Bank for new settlements, outgoing Defense Minister Ehud Barak has announced that they are rerouting the West Bank “separation fence” to totally encircle the Palestinian village of al-Zaim, which previously was only had an exit through E-1.
Historically the tiny village would have done most of its trading with East Jerusalem, but Israel has already erected a wall on the Jerusalem-side of the village, with a military checkpoint to keep Palestinians from entering the city. This forces the village to use the eastern exit, into E-1, an exit which will soon also be closed.
Assuming the plan goes through and is not shot down by the Israeli High Court (entirely possible as they have rejected other arbitrary attempts to seize Palestinian land in the past), the villagers will only be able to leave through the military checkpoint, with Israeli occupation forces’ approval, and will only be allowed to access a single “Arab-only” road that will give them a roundabout path to northern cities.
That road will be Israel’s ace-in-the-hole diplomatically for the de facto annexation of E-1, as it provides the southern village access to the northern West Bank and therefore the seizure of E-1 doesn’t entirely cut the south off from the north in theory, just in practice.
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