The Battle for the Roads
A unique feature characterizing the first phase of the War of Independence up to May (1948) was the "battle for the roads." The vast majority of Palestine's main roads ran through areas populated by Arabs, and by controlling the roads, the Arabs could effectively lay siege to areas of Jewish settlement. In March, having failed to capture Jewish settlements, the Arab forces concentrated on the battle for the roads, while continuing their attacks on outlying districts in the mixed towns and on settlements in the north, the Jerusalem mountains, and the Negev. Nevertheless, a convoy of armored trucks succeeded in making the trip from Negbah to Gat, which had been cut off for a long period, and an Arab arms convoy was ambushed and destroyed near Kiryat Motzkin. In general, the Arabs scored considerable success in the battle for the roads: on March 26 Jewish traffic on the coastal road leading to the Negev came to a complete stop; a convoy on its way back to Jerusalem from the Ezyon bloc was trapped near al-Nabi Daniyal and another, which tried to reach Yehiam, was ambushed and wiped out.
Source: Israel Defense Forces