Soldiers open highway 443 311.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski/The Jerusalem Post)
The IDF will open
Route 443 to Palestinians this week as it puts the finishing touches on a
new set of security measures along the key highway.The work on the road
is expected to cost more than NIS 30 million.
from the High Court of Justice, the road, which links Jerusalem with
Modi’in and Tel Aviv, will officially open to Palestinian traffic on
Friday, after almost eight years of being used solely by Israeli
IDF prepares for Road 443 security plan
The road more traveled?
The four attacks that changed 443
The road was closed in 2002 following a spate of
terrorist attacks that killed six people. Until then, it had served some
55,000 Palestinians living in several villages along its length,
including Beit Sirya, Beit Ghur a-Fawka, Beit Ghur a-Tahta and Khirbat
In December, the court gave the IDF five months to
make preparations to open a 14-km. section of Route 443 that runs
between two IDF checkpoints – one called Maccabim, near Modi’in, and the
other near Jerusalem.
The road is considered “strategic” since
it is one of two that link Jerusalem with the Central region.
recent weeks, the army has erected a barbed-wire fence along the road
and surrounding the Givat Ze’ev settlement. It has also built a new
checkpoint at the entrance to the road that leads to Beit Ghur a-Fawka,
where Palestinian cars will be checked before being allowed onto the
highway. Another checkpoint is being set up at the entrance to the side
road that leads to Beit Sirya.
A third checkpoint, to eventually
have six lanes, is under construction near the Ofer Prison and will be
used to control Palestinian traffic coming from Ramallah onto the
highway and then into Jerusalem.
IDF's concerned terrorist attacks will renew
The IDF Central Command is concerned that terrorists in cars will renew
attacks along the road. On Wednesday night, Palestinians stoned a number
of Israeli vehicles on Route 443 near Beit Ghur a-Fawka. The IDF
arrested two suspects, who were transferred to the custody of the Judea
and Samaria Police.
Specifically, the IDF is worried about renewed shooting attacks and
bombs being planted along the highway. In December, security forces
discovered the remains of an improvised explosive device – made of a gas
canister and firecrackers – that had gone off along the road and
appeared to have targeted passing Israeli cars.
IDF sources expect that in the first few days, hundreds of Palestinian
cars will take to the roads, some of them waving Palestinian flags as an
act of protest. With time, though, the number of Palestinian cars is
expected to decrease.