Daily Israel Report

IDF Reveals Security Measures for Opening Route 443 to Arabs

The IDF has opened Route 443 to Palestinian Authority traffic, as required by the Supreme Court.
By Maayana Miskin
First Publish: 3/25/2010, 11:01 PM / Last Update: 3/26/2010, 7:21 AM

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The IDF is close to completing its preparation for the opening of Route 443 to Palestinian Authority traffic. The Supreme Court ruled in late 2009 that Israel must reopen the road to PA traffic, after closing it to PA vehicles for several years due to security needs.

IDF spokesmen announced Thursday that the army has taken several measures to ensure motorists' safety. PA traffic will be allowed to merge onto Route 443 at two points north of Jerusalem, outside the villages of Beit Sira and Beit Ur al-Fuka. Vehicles merging onto the highway will be subject to a brief security check.

A crossing will be set up at the Machaneh Ofer junction to allow PA vehicles to undergo a security check along with the other cars on the road, spokesmen said.

Route 443 connects Jerusalem to Modiin and central Israel, and is used by many Jerusalem residents who commute to the Tel Aviv area for work.

There have been several attacks reported along the road in recent months, including two firebombings and a drive-by shooting, all perpetrated by PA Arabs. Four Israelis were killed on the road in different shooting attacks several years ago, causing it to be closed to Arab traffic until the recent court ruling which gave the IDF five months to prepare for its opening to all traffic. Terror victim support group Almagor have argued that the decision to reopen 443 to PA traffic “placed a ticking time bomb... until the next terrorist attack.”