Ramallah, 27 Rabi’ul Awwal 1436/18 January 2015 (MINA) – Israeli forces on Saturday afternoon closed the West Bank’s main road for Palestinians south of Ramallah for four hours, causing massive traffic jams and headaches for Palestinian commuters even as Jewish settlers moved freely beside them.

Witnesses said that Israeli soldiers parked military vehicles in the middle of the road near the central West Bank village of Jaba, about two kilometers east of the notorious Qalandia checkpoint that cuts off the road between Jerusalem and Ramallah. Ma’an News Agency quoted by Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA) as reporting.

The Israeli soldiers distributed a statement claiming that the road had been shut as a form of punishment against Palestinians because local youths throw stones and empty bottles at vehicles belonging to Israeli settlers as they pass through on a bypass road located immediately beside the Palestinian road.

Israeli authorities have created a parallel system of roads for Jewish settlers throughout the West Bank, and at the Jaba junction Israelis living in a number of local settlements — including the Maale Adumim bloc, Almon, Adam, and many others — continue northeast on Route 60, which was built to bypass Ramallah.

Israeli forces, however, closed the road for Palestinians leading from the junction northwest toward Ramallah, leaving hundreds of Palestinian vehicles stuck in the traffic while Israeli settlers moved freely beside them.

In the military statement distributed by soldiers to Palestinian commuters, they threatened to keep the road closed as long as the throwing of stones at Israeli traffic continues in the area.

The road was reopened four hours later.

Israeli forces maintain severe restrictions on Palestinians’ freedom of movement in the West Bank through a complex combination of fixed checkpoints, flying checkpoints, roads forbidden to Palestinians but open exclusively to Jewish settlers, and various other physical obstructions.

At any given time there are about 100 permanent Israeli checkpoints in the West Bank, while there are often dozens more surprise flying checkpoints.

The internationally recognized Palestinian territories of which the West Bank and East Jerusalem form a part have been occupied by the Israeli military since 1967. (T/P006/R03)

Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)