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High Court Approves Jerusalem-Rachel’s Tomb Road (INN-ISRAEL NATIONAL NEWS) 02/03/05)Source: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/news.php3?id=76376 INN} ISRAEL NATIONAL NEWS INN} ISRAEL NATIONAL NEWS Articles-Index-TopPublishers-Index-Top
The High Court of Justice has approved IDF plans to pave a bypass road re-connecting Jerusalem with Rachel’s Tomb, located on the outskirts of Bethlehem.

Citing the principle of religious freedom, the High Court rejected petitions submitted by the Arab municipalities of Bethlehem and Beit Jala and 18 local Arabs. The petitioners claimed that the road would restrict their freedom of movement and help Israel annex Rachel’s Tomb.

The court held that the route, which has already been changed several times in response to previous petitions, does not significantly harm the petitioners’ rights. The justices also ruled that Jews are entitled to freedom of worship, and that the IDF is responsible for defending that freedom.

The decision also means that Israel is essentially giving up a different Jerusalem-Rachel´s Tomb road - the one by which Jews have accessed the holy site since 1967. A checkpoint is to established at the intersection at the Jerusalem border, some 900 meters north of the holy site, and the new road in question will be paved to the west. The new road will arrive at Rachel´s Tomb from the back.

This is not the first time the court has upheld Jewish rights of worship in Arab-populated areas of Israel. The court previously rejected a petition submitted by Arabs and left-wing Israelis to prevent the IDF from widening a path used by Jewish worshippers in Hevron.

The road to Rachel’s Tomb is designed to bypass hostile Arab- populated areas in Bethlehem and Beit Jala, providing Jews with a relatively safe route when traveling there from Jerusalem. The road is to be protected by part of the anti-terrorism partition that Israel is building in Judea and Samaria along the former 1967 armistice lines.

Former MK Chanan Porat, who has long been active in promoting Rachel´s Tomb, said that the court’s ruling “gives me small comfort, though it will bring some benefit. It’s elementary that Jews should have the freedom to pray, without being shot at or harmed.”

Porat lamented the fact that the road would have to pass through the security barrier, saying, “the barrier has no logic behind it. If there are problems in Bethlehem, the IDF has to enforce law and order there so no Arab would dare point a weapon at a Jew. There´s no need to turn Rachel’s Tomb into a ghetto.”

Porat added: “We await the day when there will be no need for the barrier, and Jews will be able to settle there and everywhere within the entire Land of Israel. I hope that very soon Rachel will be able to proclaim, as in Jeremiah´s prophecy about her, that her ‘sons are returning to their borders.’” (IsraelNationalNews © 02/03/05)

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