Israel allocates record $227 million to building safer West Bank roads


(JTA) — Israel’s government allotted $227 million for improving the security of roads in the West Bank, including by building new ones that circumvent Palestinians cities.

The allocation, which is the largest of its kind, was announced Friday following weeks of protests by bereaved families of Israelis who died in terrorist attacks on West Bank roads. Construction by Israel in the West Bank, including of roads for settlements, is considered internationally as illegal.

Urgent projects will be funded from a $57 million sum set aside for these projects from the current national budget. and the remaining sum will come from the 2018 fiscal plan, Ynet reported.

“This is a very emotional moment,” said Hadas Mizrachi, a leader of the protests for road security in the West Bank, said in a statement. Her husband, Baruch, was a police officer from the city of Modiin, west of Jerusalem, and was murdered in a 2014 terrorist attack on a road near Hebron.

“I am glad we were given the opportunity to make this achievement for the People of Israel and prevent tragedies like the one that befell me and my family,” she said.

In addition to several bypass roads among the urgent projects, the funding will provide walls for protection in segments prone to shooting attacks, lighting and better cellular reception.

B’Tselem, an organization that records what it considers human rights violations against Palestinians, in January called on the government to refrain from building bypasses in the West Bank.

Last month, the Israel Security Agency recorded 71 attacks against Israelis in areas controlled by Israel – the lowest tally recorded in one month since 2015 and a 31 percent drop from October’s 103 attacks, the agency said in its monthly report published this week.

Among the attacks recorded last month, 50 occurred in Jerusalem and another 17 in the West Bank. One victim was killed in the attacks.

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