Knesset: Delay route 443 opening

Committee says High Court is not familiar with the road.

By
May 24, 2010 22:39
2 minute read.
Soldiers open highway 443

Soldiers open highway 443 311. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski/The Jerusalem Post)

 
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The Knesset Economic Affairs Committee on Monday begged Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to delay Friday's scheduled opening of the West Bank section of Route 443 to vehicles with Palestinian license plates.

In its statement to him it said that Palestinian vehicles should not be on the road until such time as the IDF could execute proper security measures to safe guard the road.

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The Friday time-table was set by the High Court of Justice, which had ruled that the road must be opened to Palestinian vehicles in response to a petition filed by the Association for Civil Rights in Israel.

MK's at the meeting chastised the judges on the High Court of Justice for not inspecting the road before issuing its ruling.
"It's scandalous that the judges made a decision that impacts the lives of Israelis without checking the route," said committee chairman MK Ofir Akonis (Likud).

MK Yariv Levin (Likud) who lives in the city of Modin located just off Route 443 said that some of the access granted Palestinians to the road was illogical.
Palestinian motorist can drive on the road as far as Camp Ofer and exit there, he said.
But that exit takes them in two directions that are blocked to Palestinian vehicles, Givat Ze'ev and Jerusalem. Nor can they access Ramallah from that point, Levin said.
The only thing they can do at Camp Ofer is to reverse direction and return to an earlier exit point, from which they can head to Ramallah, he said,
It is just one example, he said, of how the decision is disconnected from reality.

The police said they planned to increase their presence on the road.



A Defense Ministry official showed the parliamentarians a map of the route and explained how the IDF would protect the road and where they would institute safety checks. But at the same time, he explained that it would take eight months to properly prepare the right amount of lanes at the check-points to allow for easy flow of traffic.

The road was closed to Palestinian vehicles after six Israelis were killed in terror attacks there and many others were wounded after the start of the second intifada in October 2000.

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