Photo Credit: Nasser Ishtayeh/Flash90
Arab demonstrators clash with IDF soldiers on the main road of Huwara, October 13, 2023.

Starting Sunday at 11 AM, the Huwara bypass road will be open to Jewish motorists, allowing them to avoid the Arab city where so many Jews have been murdered this year. The security sources that announced the opening also said that the original road that runs through Huwara will remain open to Jewish traffic and the shops that gave shelter to stone-throwing locals will remain shuttered.

Samaria Council Head Yossi Dagan, who was behind the efforts to speed up the construction of the bypass road, stated: “We welcome the change of the decision [to allow Jewish traffic on the old road]. Any compromise would have been a victory for terrorism and would have led to an increase in terrorist attacks.”

The Huwara bypass road, October 29, 2023. / Yair Dov

Lev HaShomaron (heart of Samaria) Highway, a.k.a. the Huwara Bypass, connects Tapuach Junction to the settlements on the eastern slopes of the Samaria mountains, bypassing east of Huwara, which is crossed by Route 60. The bypass is 3 kilometers long, starting at Yitzhar Junction and ending at Tapuach Junction.

The battle to pave the bypass road began in 2017, with Samaria settlers pointing to the fact that Jewish traffic was getting stuck in jams in downtown Huwara, which provided ample opportunities for local terrorists to attack Jewish cars with stones, firebombs, and even guns. These acts of terrorism intensified in 2023 as several Israelis were killed in Huwara, and many were subject to attacks.

The projects had been delayed because of two reasons: 1. Likud Transport Minister Miri Regev was replaced by Labor Transport Minister Merav Michaeli who declared her lack of enthusiasm for any road works in Judea and Samaria because they would all be returned to the Palestinian Authority someday. And so, although Michaeli did not outright cancel the bypass project, it was not very high on her list of priorities; 2. The project ballooned from a simple road that would be secured by IDF checkpoints into a NIS 300 million four-lane highway with lights at regular intervals and an overpass.

Incidentally, only a segment of the new bypass road is opening on Sunday; for it to reach all the way to Tapuach Junction will take another two months, according to Minister Regev. At this point, the new road connects Yitzhar Junction with Beita Junction.


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