Transportation Ministry officials on Sunday appeared before the Knesset Foreign Affairs & Defense Committee subcommittee explaining their concerns regarding the recent High Court decision to open Highway 443 to PA (Palestinian Authority) motorists.
The decision has sparked much controversy, primarily over the security concerns for Israeli drivers. The IDF closed the Jerusalem-Modi’in vehicular route to PA motorists a number of years ago, the result of a fatal terror attack and intelligence community evaluations suggesting the move to prevent additional attacks. It should be pointed out that the major route passes by a number of PA autonomous areas.
Transportation Ministry officials have other, albeit no less significant concerns, explaining the move will undoubtedly prompt some motorists to leave the route and begin traveling on Highway 1, the Jerusalem-Tel Aviv Highway as an alternate [safer] route.
According to the facts and figures of the expects appearing before the committee on Sunday, if only 20% of the drivers move from 443 to Hwy 1, the result will catastrophic, resulting in “the collapse of the Jerusalem-Tel Aviv Highway”, which is simply not capable of handling the additional vehicular traffic. The experts are warning a plan must be devised, because it is a fact that many motorists will abandon the 443 route once Arab motorists are present, and in all likelihood, more than 20%, and this will spell disaster for the main Jerusalem –Tel Aviv vehicular route.
The court has instructed the IDF to open the roadway to PA motorists, giving the military 5 months to implement the decision, providing what the court views as an ample time period to make the necessary security arrangements as per the court’s decision.
(Yechiel Spira – YWN Israel)