The Israeli military has recently undertaken transportation infrastructure upgrades to increase security for Israelis driving through the Arab village of Huwara in Samaria.
Route 60, the main north-south highway in Judea and Samaria, runs through the village, which is located just outside Nablus.
The roadwork comes after a series of Palestinian terrorist attacks taking advantage of the congestion that slows down vehicles entering the area, including the murder of brothers Hallel Yaniv, 21, and Yagel Yaniv, 19—Israelis shot by a Palestinian terrorist as they sat in traffic on Feb. 26.
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 increasing speeds through the terror-stronghold village until the completion of a 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 in the event they take place.
The IDF’s Samaria Brigade has also bolstered security inspections, including the deployment of additional checkpoint barriers.
Maj. Gen. Yehuda Fuchs, commander of the IDF Central Command, directed the security improvements, which were a joint effort of the Samaria Brigade, the Central Command’s engineering department, the Judea and Samaria Civil Administration, the Defense Ministry’s Keshet Tzvaim Authority, the Border Police and the Israel Police.
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 support the terrorist murder of the Yaniv brothers. Only 21% of those surveyed were against it and similar armed attacks.
Israel’s Transportation Minister Miri Regev has pledged to accelerate the completion of the Huwara bypass road frozen under the Lapid government.
In 2017, Netanyahu’s government approved an 800 million shekel plan (around $220 million) plan to construct bypass roads throughout Judea and Samaria, including the Huwara bypass road between the Tapuach and Yitzhar Junctions, to improve security for Israeli motorists while creating safer and modernized roads for Jewish and Arab travelers alike.
However, under the previous government, Transportation Minister Merav Michaeli, the head of the Labor Party, froze road projects in Judea and Samaria, including the bypass road.
The project was slated for completion in January 2025, but Regev has vowed to get it done sooner with completion “in the coming months.”
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