Members of the Knesset's Economic Affairs Committee discussed the impending opening of Highway 443 to Palestinian Authority traffic in their Monday meeting. Several expressed concern over safety issues, with one lamenting that the Supreme Court, which ordered the road opened to PA vehicles, made its decision “without seeing the facts.”
Defense Ministry representative Aharon Tzabari presented the steps the IDF has taken to ensure travelers' safety. A number of points have been established along the highway at which soldiers will examine passing cars, he said.
MK Rabbi Menachem Moses (United Torah Judaism) worried that the preparations described by Tzabari would be insufficient. A terrorist “could get on the highway from one of the villages in the area, and blend in with the Israeli vehicles, putting them in danger, before reaching the checkpoint,” he said. “After all, until the point at which cars are examined, we won't know if it's a car like any other or a terrorist.”
"Unfortunately, the judges of the Supreme Court issued their ruling without seeing all of the facts,” he added.
Modiin Mayor Chaim Bibas, whose city is connected to Jerusalem via Highway 443, was also unsatisfied by the army's work along the road. “The military must request an extension of several months in order to plan this properly,” he said.
The Supreme Court justices “did not so much as look at the area in question,” he added.
MK Yaakov “Ketzaleh” Katz (National Union) called to hold the Supreme Court responsible for the results of its ruling. “If there are any terrorist attacks, I request that the Supreme Court President take responsibility and step down,” he said.
Committee head MK Ofir Akonis (Likud) concluded the meeting by announcing that the committee would suggest the road remain closed to PA traffic until further preparations are made. “This committee issues an urgent appeal to the Prime Minister asking him to order that the highway not be opened until all the necessary traffic and security-related arrangements are made,” he said.