Asharq Al-awsat English Middle-east and International News and Opinion from Asharq Al-awsat Newspaper

Israel Plans to Construct Railway Tunnel under Jerusalem

Israel Plans to Construct Railway Tunnel under Jerusalem

Tuesday, 7 April, 2020 - 11:30
A picture taken with a smartphone using panoramic mode on December 1, 2017 shows a view of Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives. (AFP)

Israel has revealed a new plan to construct an underground railway tunnel in the occupied city of Jerusalem that reaches the outskirts of the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

It comes in light of the world's preoccupation with the novel coronavirus pandemic.

“Israeli authorities have prepared the plan during the emergency period they recently declared over the outbreak,” the Arab Center for Alternative Planning said in a report published Sunday.

Israel’s National Infrastructure Committee announced the plan during a March 17 meeting, the center reported.

The first phase of the project calls for the construction of an underground railway tunnel that connects west Jerusalem with the Moroccan Gate (Bab al-Magharib), reaching the outskirts of the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

While the other phase will see the construction of a railway above ground that crosses several neighborhoods in Jerusalem.

The committee has published an announcement for preparing the aforementioned project and imposed restrictions according to the Articles 77 and 78 of the Organization and Building Law.

These articles allow the freezing of issuing building permits and carrying out any work within the limits of these plans.

“The tunnel that will be built will pass under the Palestinian neighborhoods in East Jerusalem, specifically the Old City neighborhoods of Silwan and Abu Tor,” the report explained.

“As it seems, it will have many impacts on many aspects of life of these neighborhoods, which the center will study in turn.”

It noted that they are part of a series of other vague and dangerous projects that are being implemented secretly in this sensitive area.

These include the Temple tunnel, which runs under the neighborhoods of the old town and threatens its safety and stability, and the City of David project, whose various installations threaten Silwan and the Moroccan Gate area.

The center announced it will continue to follow up the Israeli projects and identify and analyze their consequences to determine the damage they might cause to Arab neighborhoods.

Editor Picks