Photo Credit: Nati Shohat / Flash 90
Gush Etzion bridge and tunnel road to Jerusalem

Residents of a Palestinian Authority village joined their Jewish neighbors this week in protesting delays in funding for the security upgrades that will create new transportation infrastructure in Judea and Samaria.

The Jewish protesters have been camped out across from the Prime Minister’s Residence in Jerusalem for weeks over the endless delays in the security improvements.

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The Arab villagers live in Gush Etzion along the planned route of one of the new bypass roads, according to a report by Ynet. A village elder contacted the leaders of the Jewish protest to offer his support, saying new roads are just as important to the Arab residents as they are to the Jews.

“Everybody has to use a road that was originally paved for donkeys,” an Arab villager told Ynet. “Nowadays donkeys have been replaced with semi-trailers and articulated buses. Everything is so congested, and the road simply can’t handle that much traffic. It needs to be expanded and put in order,” he said.

There are many citizens of the Palestinian Authority who work in Jerusalem, particularly in the hospitals and the hotel industry. There are some half a million Jews living in Judea and Samaria, and many of them work in Jerusalem as well. Between the two groups of drivers, the roads are sometimes clogged for hours at a time.

“This struggle is everyone’s,” said Yossi Dagan, head of the Samaria Regional Council and a leader of the protest.

“When it comes down to it, it’s also a struggle for life-saving infrastructure, both for Jews and Arabs. The Israeli government must come to its senses and approve in a budgetary line item—and not merely media promises—the paving of roads and other security measures in Judea and Samaria.”

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