An Israeli judge has ordered the opening of a road, linking Israel and Jerusalem, to Palestinian traffic.
Israel’s Supreme Court ruled that Highway 443 – which cuts through the occupied West Bank – must be opened to Palestinian cars, banned since 2002 by the military after attacks on Israeli vehicles.
Palestinians are welcoming the news. “Opening this way helps a lot. I hope it will help us, because there are many villages that are linked by this route. it will take less time, less pain. This path is the central focus for these villages,” said one motorist.
Five Israelis died in attacks on the road before the ban was imposed and not all Israelis are happy about it being lifted.
One Jewish driver said: “This is security only, ok. No apartheid, no racism, no whatever, inequality or all this stuff you think about. It has to do with security and I think it’s up to the government and up to the Defence Minister and the army to decide about it and not the Supreme Court.”
In 2002 a female suicide bomber attacked an army checkpoint along the route. Random stone throwing and fire bombs are also considered a risk to vehicles using Highway 443.