The main section of a road that bypasses the Palestinian town of Huwara, the site of multiple terror attacks in recent months, will open after the High Holidays, two months earlier than planned, according to Israel Hayom.
Four Israelis have been killed in Huwara in the past six months—brothers Hallel and Yagel Yaniv in February and father and son Shay Silas and Aviad Nir Nigrekar earlier this month.
Dual Israeli-U.S. citizen David Stern, 41, narrowly survived a shooting on March 19 while he was driving through Huwara with his wife on their way to Jerusalem.
Two Israeli soldiers were also wounded in a drive-by shooting in the village on March 25. A few days later, dozens of Arabs stoned cars traveling through Huwara bearing Israeli license plates.
A public opinion poll conducted in early March showed that 71% of Palestinians supported the murder of the Yaniv brothers. Only 21% of those surveyed were against it and similar armed attacks.
Israeli Transportation Minister Miri Regev toured the site on Wednesday together with the head of the Samaria Regional Council, Yossi Dagan. The two announced that the road would open two months ahead of schedule due to the danger facing Judea residents, who—without an alternative—are forced to drive through Huwara.
Dagan has been the main driving force behind the initiative and together with families of terror victims has pushed for a bypass road for about six years.
Work on the road began approximately two years ago, with several delays in the beginning. The construction received a boost in the form of an additional 50 million shekels ($13.2 million) following the murder of the Yaniv brothers and was planned to be completed by December.
Regev lauded the project, saying the bypass road “will save lives and give residents a sense of security.”
Dagan said, “This is great news for the residents of Judea and Samaria and all the people of Israel, both in terms of safety and security, and is a significant tool for reaching the goal of one million residents in the Samaria region.”
The Israeli military recently upgraded the transportation infrastructure to increase security for Israelis driving through Huwara.
Route 60, the main north-south highway in Judea and Samaria, runs through the village, which is located just outside Shechem (Nablus).
The number of lanes on Route 60 at Einabus Square was doubled from two to four. The IDF also removed a traffic circle at Yitzhar Junction that had been built as a traffic safety measure. Both projects are aimed at lowering travel times through the village until the completion of the bypass road.
Also, a large number of IDF personnel have been deployed to the area and 13 new defensive positions were built to discourage attacks and to reduce response times.
The IDF’s Samaria Brigade has also bolstered security inspections, including the deployment of additional checkpoint barriers.