Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz slammed the European Union's attempt to boycott a tour of the new Tel Aviv-Jerusalem express train line Friday.
The European Union's representative in Israel, Lars Faaborg-Andersen, is working to persuade the ambassadors of foreign countries in Israel to boycott the tour "because the route passes beyond the green line."
Minister Katz wrote in response: "Dear Mr. Anderson, we are not a banana republic. The train will operate starting next Passover, and if you do not like it, you can continue to take the old Turkish route."
Several hundred meters of an underground section of the rail line are over the so-called 'green line.'
Katz also addressed the European ambassadors who planned to participate in the boycott of the tour, Haaretz reported.
“The Tel Aviv-Jerusalem fast train line is a national project that will connect the capital of Israel to all parts of the country and is being built in accordance with the laws of the State of Israel for the benefit of the entire population of the region and with the approval of the Supreme Court,” he stated.
“In this context, the ambassadors from the foreign countries were invited to see and get an impression of this important undertaking. The intervention of the ambassador from the European Union and his attempt to prevent the ambassadors from coming constitutes inappropriate interference in the internal affairs of the State of Israel. Are they boycotting the fast train to Jerusalem? In advance of the next date set for the tour, I will personally approach the ambassadors of the countries from which companies have taken part in building the project and will ask them to come,” Katz said.