IDF prepares for Road 443 security plan

Road to be opened to Palestinian traffic.

checkpoint 443 311 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
checkpoint 443 311
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
The IDF Central Command has sped up construction work along Route 443 – between Jerusalem and Modi’in – ahead of its planned opening to Palestinian drivers later this month.
Last week, the Defense Ministry began erecting a barbed wire fence along the section of the road that runs near the settlement of Givat Ze’ev. In addition, bulldozers began removing large boulders that had blocked off side roads that connected 443 to nearby Palestinian villages.
Under the IDF’s new security plan for the road, in addition to the new barbed wire fence near Givat Ze’ev, the military also plans to erect a new roadblock near the settlement of Beit Horon.
In December, the High Court of Justice ordered the IDF to open Route443, which links Jerusalem to Modi’in, Ben-Gurion Airport and Tel Aviv,to Palestinian traffic. The road was closed in 2002 following a spateof terror attacks along it that killed six people. Until then, the roadhad served as many as 55,000 Palestinians living in several villagesalong the length of the highway, including Beit Sira, Saffa, Beit Ura-Tahta and Khirbat al-Misbah.
The court gave the IDF five months to make preparations to open a14-kilometer section of  443 that is located between two checkpoints –one called Maccabim, near Modi’in, and the other near Jerusalem. Theroad is considered “strategic” since it is one of two that linkJerusalem with the center of the country.