During the last few weeks, Israeli authorities completed the reopening of the road which connects Beitin and other Palestinian villages in the northeast area of District of Ramallah with the city itself via the District Coordination (DCO) checkpoint.
However, due to occupation-imposed restrictions at the DCO checkpoint, following the reopening of the road only private vehicles of Palestinians were allowed to use it to access Ramallah, and only when traveling to the city, but not on their return trip.
According to B’Tselem, even this moderate improvement in the freedom of movement for Palestinians residing in the area was short-lived, as only a day after the much-publicized reopening of the road the Israeli military blocked it again with large boulders. The justification given by the occupation forces for sealing off the road was that some Palestinian drivers didn’t give right-of-way to Israeli settlers from Beit El, as instructed by a newly posted Yield sign.
The initial closing of the Beitin junction to Palestinian drivers was intended to give Beit El settlers exclusive use of the road on their way to route 60, the main thoroughfare running along the central massif of the country from ancient times, connecting Nazareth in the north with Beer Sheva in the south via Afula, Jenin, Nablus, Ramallah, Jerusalem, Bethlehem, and Hebron. Route 60 is also commonly referred to as the “Way of the Patriarchs,” as it figures prominently in the biblical book of Genesis.
The Palestinian village of Beitin in the occupied West Bank has about 2,300 residents. It is located nearby Route 60, northeast of Ramallah, at a junction connecting Ramallah and el-Bireh with Palestinian villages to the east, numbering some 60,000-70,000 residents.
In 2001, at the outbreak of the second intifada, the military blocked access from the village of Beitin to Ramallah. Since then, tens of thousands of Palestinians have had to travel to the main city of their district via long, circuitous, time consuming routes, resulting in the isolation of these villages and the impairment of the area’s daily life and economy.