For the first time, Israel's Supreme Court, albeit in an interim decision, has accepted the idea of separate roads for Palestinians in the occupied areas.
The Association for Civil Rights in Israel told the court that what was happening on the highway could be the onset of legal apartheid in the West Bank.
Built largely on private Palestinian land, the road was first challenged in Israel's Supreme Court in the early 1980s. The judges, in a landmark ruling, permitted it to be built because the army said its primary function was to serve the local Palestinians, not Israeli commuters.
In recent years, in the wake of stone-throwing and several drive-by shootings, Israel has blocked Palestinians' access to the road.
This month's decision calls on the army to give a progress report in six months on its efforts to build separate roads and to take other steps to compensate Palestinians for being banned from the road. It is the acceptance of the idea of separate road systems that has engendered commentary.
"There is already a separate legal system in the territories for Israelis and Palestinians," said Limor Yehuda, who argued the case for the civil rights association on behalf of six Palestinian villages.
"With the approval of separate roads, if it becomes a widespread policy, then the word for it will be 'apartheid'."UPDATE: (March 28) More. (H/t POGGE)