Ex-Shin Bet chief calls for West Bank road segregation

Likud MK Avi Dichter says solution to uptick in vehicular attacks on Israelis is to keep Palestinian cars away from settlements

Tamar Pileggi is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

Likud Knesset member Avi Dichter (AP/File)
Likud Knesset member Avi Dichter (AP/File)

An Israeli lawmaker and former Shin Bet chief on Sunday called for the segregation of West Bank roads to stop the wave of vehicular terror attacks.

Likud MK Avi Dichter said that separating Israeli and Palestinian drivers on West Bank highways was an inevitable move.

“This is a significant issue, not only politically, but operationally. Ultimately, we must move towards separation,” he said in a morning interview with Galey Israel, a regional West Bank radio station.

“The policy allowing for dual-access roads, as if it was one country — like being able to travel between Israel and Nablus [in the West Bank] with your car is a very problematic reality,” Dichter continued.

“They are there and we are here,” he said. “Want to get from there [Palestinian Authority-controlled West Bank] to here? Pass a checkpoint, get checked to make sure you aren’t in possession of a weapon. And if you’re on the list of suspects, then you won’t be able to enter,” he stated.

Israeli security forces stand by the body of a Palestinian man who was shot after stabbing an Israeli on Sunday night, August 9, 2015, at a gas station on the 443 road to Jerusalem (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Israeli security forces stand by the body of a Palestinian man who was shot after stabbing an Israeli at a gas station on Route 443, August 9, 2015. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Dichter said his solution to the uptick in the lone-wolf vehicular attacks against Israelis was to “isolate or disengage from these areas.”

Segregating roads, he declared, would ensure that Palestinian vehicles wouldn’t be able to enter Israeli settlements and Israeli vehicles wouldn’t be able to enter Palestinian cities or villages.

Dichter pointed to Route 443 as an example of the failed policy of integration. The four-lane highway — which passes through the West Bank and connects the Tel Aviv area with Jerusalem via Modi’in — is regularly used by Palestinian motorists.

“Route 443 as a dual-use road has a price,” he said, referring to the recent uptick in attacks against Israelis along the highway. Last week, an Israeli man was stabbed and moderately wounded at a gas station when he was set upon by a group of Palestinians.

The week before, three Israeli soldiers were wounded — two of them seriously — when a Palestinian terrorist plowed his car into them as they stood at a hitchhiking post in the northern West Bank.

In September 2000, a number of access roads connecting Palestinian villages with parts of Route 443 were closed due to the outbreak of the Second Intifada, which saw frequent firebomb attacks and fatal shootings of Israeli motorists. However, a ruling by the High Court of Justice in 2009 required the Israel Defense Forces to reopen the highway to Palestinian traffic without restrictions.

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