Beit Ur al-Tahta

Beit Ur al-Tahta

Infobox Palestinian Authority muni
name=Beit Ur al-Tahta

arname=بيت عور التحت
meaning="Lower house of straw"
altUnoSp=Bayt Ur at-Tahta
longd=35 |longm=05|longs=01.03|longEW=E

Beit Ur al-Tahta ( _ar. بيت عور التحتى, lit. "Lower house of straw") is a Palestinian town located in the Seam Zone in the central West Bank, in the Ramallah and Al-Bireh Governorate. The village, along with its sister village Beit Ur al-Foqa, is located on the site of the biblical Bethoron. The two villages crown two hilltops, less than two miles apart, with the former some 800 feet higher than the latter. According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, in mid-year 2006, Beit Ur at-Tahta had a population of 4,400 inhabitants.cite web|title= Projected Mid -Year Population for Ramallah & Al Bireh Governorate by Locality 2004- 2006|publisher=Palestinian National Authority:Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics|year=2004|accessdate=2007-10-27|url=]

Legal action

In the 1980s and 1990s, lands belonging to the two villages were confiscated by the Israeli government to construct Highway 443 along the pass of Bethoron, which passes by the villages.cite web|title=State told to explain Palestinian travel ban on West Bank road|author-Yuval Yoaz and Akiva Elder|publisher=Haaretz|date=2007-06-08|accessdate=2007-09-12|url=] A petition challenging the expropriation before the Supreme Court of Israel in September 1983 was rejected by Justice Aharon Barak who ruled that under international law, it is the right of a military government to infringe on property rights if a number of conditions are fulfilled, one of which is that "The step is taken for the benefit of the local population."

Construction of Highway 443 was completed, initially serving as a main approach road linking the 25,000 inhabitants of the two villages (and four others: Beit Sira, Beit Likiyeh, Hirbet al-Masbah, and Tsaffeh) to the major city in the area, Ramallah. However, since the outbreak of the Second Intifada, the Israel Defense Forces have prevented most Palestinian pedestrians and motorists from using the road. The construction of the Israeli West Bank barrier has also closed off access to the old Palestinian road between Ramallah and the villages of Upper and Lower Beit Ur, making what was formerly a five-minute drive, forty-five minutes via a narrow road.cite web|title=Palestinian Children Behind Bars|author=Birgitta Elfström and Arne Malmgren|date=2005-01-31|publisher=International Commission of Jurists, Swedish Section|url=]

Israeli drivers on the road have been subjected to rock-throwing, firebombing, and shooting attacks, [ [ 4 Israelis wounded in drive-by shooting] ] [ [ Israeli driver killed in ambush near Givat Ze'ev] ] [ [ Couple shot dead in ambush, children lightly hurt] ] [ [ Two murdered in terror attacks] ] and the Israeli Defense Ministry has said that Highway 443 is open to Palestinians who pass the inspection at the roadblock. An investigation by Haaretz discovered that most of the access roads are usually closed, though occasionally motorists with special permission can use the road.

After a petition to the court was again filed in March 2007 by the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) in the name of the Palestinian villagers who live alongside the road, in June 2007, the court ordered the Israeli government to explain why Palestinians have been denied access to the section of Highway 443 that connects Jerusalem to Modi'in and why the roadblocks preventing access to the road from Palestinian villages have not been removed.


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