Israel seeks to build new rail network in West Bank

 

“We condemn this act. We do not accept the planning of anything on a Palestinian land unless it’s a plan by Palestinian government; therefore we believe that the act undermines the possibility of establishing a viable Palestinian state,” Palestinian Minister of State, Maher Ghneim said.

Israeli Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz has called for the construction of a 475-kilometer rail network, including 11 new rail lines throughout the West Bank, Press TV reports.

The Israeli minister’s plan is aimed at building a train system that would link Israeli settlements in the West Bank to one another and to Israeli cities through a parallel line running on the eastern part of the West Bank.

The proposed rail network would include a north-south line running between Israeli settlements near Jenin, Ramallah, al-Qods (Jerusalem) and Bethlehem and Al-Khalil.

“First of all this was proposed at the beginning of 2005 by an American organization called Rand Corporation, under the name of “The Arc,” which was calling to build a highway and the train line that starts from Jenin in the north of the West Bank to Hebron in the south then another line as a tunnel or as a train to connect between Hebron and Gaza,” Daoud Hamoudeh of Stop the Wall Campaign said.

The implementation of the plan has been hampered by diplomatic, legal and financial hurdles, and also the need for cooperation with the Palestinian Authority, according to the report.

“This was part of the American proposal at that time or the Bush administration proposal at that time to build a Palestinian state with the contiguity and keeping the current realities in the West Bank, where most of the areas are cut into small … isolated from each other by whether an apartheid wall or the settlements and the military zones in the West Bank ,” Hamoudeh added.

Experts say most parts of the proposed railway would violate signed agreements between the Israeli regime and the Palestinian Authority as well as the international law.

“We condemn this act. We do not accept the planning of anything on a Palestinian land unless it’s a plan by Palestinian government; therefore we believe that the act undermines the possibility of establishing a viable Palestinian state,” Palestinian Minister of State Maher Ghneim said.

Observers say the key aim of the Israeli regime in the construction of the railways inside the West Bank is to confiscate even more Palestinian land and to cut through what is left of the Palestinian territory after the expansion of Israeli settlements, their bypass roads and Israeli West Bank barrier.

AO/MB





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