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Thursday, February 04, 2010

Good news: Four new roadblocks on 443

In December, Israel's Supreme Court ruled that the government has to open Route 443 to 'Palestinian' traffic, and gave the IDF five months to formulate a plan to secure the road against terror attacks. On Wednesday, the IDF announced what it plans to do.
The erection of new roadblocks and watchtowers, as well as increased military patrols, are part of the IDF’s proposed security plan for Route 443 ahead of its planned opening to Palestinian traffic in the coming months.

According to details of the plan under consideration by the IDF and obtained by The Jerusalem Post, the Defense Ministry is recommending the construction of four new roadblocks near the Palestinian villages of Harbata and Beit Sira and at the entrance to the settlements of Beit Horon and Givat Ze’ev.

In December, the High Court of Justice ordered the IDF to open Route 443, which links Jerusalem to Ben-Gurion Airport and Tel Aviv, to Palestinian traffic. The road was closed in 2002 following a spate of terror attacks along it that killed six people. Until then, the road had served as many as 55,000 Palestinians living in several villages along the length of the highway, including Beit Sira, Safa, Beit Ur a-Tahta and Khirbet el-Misbah.

The court gave the IDF five months to make preparations to open a 14-kilometer section of Road 443 that is between two checkpoints – one called Maccabim, near Modi’in, and the other on the opposite side, near Jerusalem.
In other words, we will have six checkpoints in a 14-kilometer stretch of road, which means that 443 will slow to a crawl.
IDF sources recognized that the new security measures would likely cause major traffic jams for commuters traveling on the four-lane highway.

“This is a problem but our primary concern is to ensure the public’s safety and to do that we need to make sure that Palestinians traveling on the road can’t enter settlements without inspections,” one officer said.

The IDF is concerned that once opened, Palestinian terrorists will use the road to launch attacks against Israeli drivers. In addition to potential shooting attacks, the IDF is also concerned with the possibility that improvised explosive devices (IEDs) will be planted along the highway. In December, security forces discovered the remains of an IED – made of a gas balloon and firecrackers – that had gone off along the road.
Especially with the tunnel road that allows most of the traffic from Northern Jerusalem that would have used Route 443 to bypass the main entrance to Jerusalem and its bottleneck (Route 443 joins Route 1 just before Ben Gurion Airport), most of the traffic will go back to using Route 1 (the main Jerusalem - Tel Aviv highway) and make it even more congested than it is already. And that's assuming no terror attacks on 443.

What could go wrong?


At 9:40 AM, Blogger Ashan said...

Another fear is that Palithugs driving on 443 will "create" large-scale "accidents".

At 4:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Airdrop Israel's supreme court justices into Gaza. Parachutes are optional.


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