Israel’s Transportation Minister Bezalel Smotrich is pursuing a policy that would bolster the road and rail infrastructure in Judea and Samaria with the goal of creating de facto annexation of the territories, according to a report in Israel Hayom.
The program, described by the ministry as “sovereignty through transportation,” would see the road connecting Jerusalem to Gush Etzion expanded at a cost of about NIS 1 billion ($283 million). A major new road from Gush Etzion southward would be built at a similar cost under the plan.
According to Smotrich’s office, this new policy, which includes additional projects, is designed to “end the current isolation of Judea and Samaria when it comes to transportation planning, so that the area is just like any other region in Israel.”
To promote this agenda, Smotrich has also created a special bureau for Judea and Samaria planning in his ministry. He has also had Judea and Samaria transportation projects integrated with national projects so that the residents of those areas can have their concerns addressed over the long term.
This means that a variety of issues that have previously been ignored by state agencies will have proper oversight, including road safety. It would also allow residents of Judea and Samaria to use the same general monthly or daily public transportation passes used all over Israel, known as the Rav Kav.
“For years, roads have been paved only because of coalition agreements within the government, and this has to stop,” Smotrich told Israel Hayom. “Israelis and Palestinians live in Judea and Samaria and they are not going anywhere; they should get proper transportation, not just band-aid solutions.”
This article first appeared in Israel Hayom.