Building a train link from Ben-Gurion airport to the heart of East Jerusalem’s Old City is controversial enough – the affront to Occupied Palestinians compounded by naming it after the US president.
It’s for his Jerusalem declaration and intention to move Washington’s embassy to the city, disgraceful actions by a rogue leader – abandoning any pretense of treating Palestinians equitably, back-stabbing them with no remorse, operating like a tinpot despot domestically and abroad.
Israel’s transportation minister Yisrael Katz announced the plan. The Israel Railways steering committee approved extending a new high-speed Jerusalem/Tel Aviv train line close to the Old City’s Western Wall.
It’s one of two proposed extensions, its final stop to be inside the Old City’s Jewish Quarter, also stopping in the city-center.
“The Western Wall is the holiest place for the Jewish people,” said Katz, adding “I decided to name the train station leading to it after US President Donald Trump” for declaring Jerusalem Israel’s capital – flagrantly violating international law, enraging Muslims worldwide.
The plan includes a three km underground tunnel from the International Conference Center at the entrance to the city – in an archeologically sensitive area, discoveries likely to be found during construction, possibly derailing or impeding the project.
It’s been planned for years, estimated to cost around $2 billion, maybe double or more that amount before completed.
Will Congress help fund it with US taxpayer dollars – at the expense of vital social programs to stay within budget limits?
When completed, trains will travel at up to 100 MPH, depart four times hourly, carrying up to 1,000 passengers, along with sharply reducing travel time, years more work needed to compete construction entirely.
It’s been under construction in stages since 2001, the first high-speed electrified heavy rail line to span 56 km, requiring extensive bridges and tunneling along the route.
Palestinians criticized the planned construction route, passing through six km of West Bank land. Environmentalists are concerned about damage to the landscape.
The rail line crosses the Green Line twice, near Latrun and Mevasseret Zion. Criticism got a German company advising the project to withdraw under pressure from Palestinian and Israeli activists.
The line is for Jews and tourists only, Palestinians excluded, the Trump Western Wall station to be part of the apartheid project.
By Stephen Lendman
Source: Stephen Lendman