Road 443: More Evidence of a Long Deception

Gershom Gorenberg

My recent piece at The Daily Beast brings new evidence that the government presented a deceptive cover story to the Supreme Court about the building of Road 443.

I arrived back in Israel on a pre-dawn flight and decided to take the minibus shuttle to Jerusalem rather than splurging on a taxi. At that hour, it took time for the van to fill. I stood on the sidewalk, happy not to be breathing airplane cabin air. Just when some German tourists showed up to take the last seats, I noticed the writing on the side of the shuttle, advertising that it took Road 443. Unhappy at the prospect of making the other passengers wait for another traveler to show up, I climbed in, and spent the ride home feeling even more unhappy about the route.

As a journalist covering settlements, I can’t avoid West Bank roads. In fact, no Jerusalemite can really avoid highways cutting through occupied territory; the main route from Tel Aviv to the capital briefly crosses the Green Line. But I have a particular distaste for 443, the secondary route, a highway built on layers of deception. And practically the last thing I’d done before vacation was digging through the most recently declassified layers.

Earlier posts at South Jerusalem on the Road 443 deception:

Road 443, for those unfamiliar with the local geography, runs from the town of Lod into the West Bank hills to the north end of Jerusalem. Israel built it in the 1980s, partly along the route of an older road that connected Palestinian villages with Ramallah.

Highways take up space, and the Israeli military expropriated land from local Palestinians. Some of them petitioned Israel’s Supreme Court, arguing that the road served Israeli transportation needs, and that International law doesn’t allow an occupying power to seize property for its own benefit. The state’s answer was that the project was really meant to give the growing Palestinian population a modern highway. The court accepted the state’s claims at face value. …

Read the rest here.