Photo: Michael Kramer
Yuli Edelstein
Photo: Michael Kramer
Uzi Landau
Photo: Tal Shahar

Edelstein: Russian roulette on Route 443

Ministers of information and national infrastructure attack court decision to allow Palestinians onto road. Edelstein rejects comparisons with apartheid, but would consider supporting law forbidding Palestinians on road

MK Yuli Edelstein (Likud) leveled a scathing attack Wednesday on the Supreme Court decision to allow Palestinians to drive on the West Bank's Route 443. The information and diaspora minister told Ynet that "the decision makes driving on Route 443 like Russian roulette for both Arabs and Jews."


The decision, Edelstein asserted, does not just endanger those Israelis using the road, but also the Palestinians of the area. "It has already happened in the past that Palestinians have been hurt on this road," said the minister who, like the judges, rejected claims that the current situation is like apartheid.


Route 443: Quality of life or right to life (Photo: AFP)


"I don’t know who will be the first to pay the price. The court made the wrong decision between immediate security concerns and universal concerns, between quality of life for a few Palestinians and the right to life of both Jews and Arabs traveling on the road," the minister said.


National Infrastructure Minister Uzi Landau (Yisrael Beitenu) added his voice to the criticism of the Supreme Court decision. "The court has entered areas it is forbidden to enter," he said. "I am in favor of pluralism in the Supreme Court, judges who don't necessarily decide according to an unequivocal world view. I would like to see reasonable judges in the High Court, and this I do not see."


"Route 443 was used by Palestinians for years, up until the start of terror, and people paid the price," he said. "Then they kept Palestinians off the road. In the surrounding villages, Palestinians still get taught that Jews poison wells and are the enemy of humankind. This is a system that nurtures terrorists."


Both Landau and Edelstein said they would contemplate voting in favor of a law that kept Palestinians off the road and thus went around the court ruling. "If a move is made," Landau said, referring to such a law, "I would consider supporting it, because this is a case of an unreasonable court decision."


Edelstein noted, "I don't like laws that skirt court rulings, but a law that enables a normal life in Modiin, Reut and even for Tel Aviv residents – I would certainly consider supporting it."


Meanwhile, MK Moshe Matalon (Yisrael Beiteinu) issued a bill for the annexation of the Route 443 into sovereign Israeli territory.


"Driving on the road threatened the lives of the passengers," Matalon wrote. "Therefore, the defense establishment ruled it be closed to Palestinians and created alternate paths."


Minister Daniel Hershkowitz turned to Defense Minister Ehud Barak with a request to find a solution to ensure the security of motorists driving on the road.


According to Hershkowitz, the court's decision "significantly increases the security threat to tens of thousands of travelers on this central thoroughfare. The Defense Ministry, charged with protecting the citizens, must find an appropriate solution."


Zvi Lavi contributed to this report


פרסום ראשון: 12.30.09, 17:22
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