PA blasts plan for light rail to Ma'aleh Adumim

PA Foreign Ministry criticizes Transportation Minister Katz’s plan to connect the Jerusalem light rail to Ma'aleh Adumim and other towns.

Ben Ariel ,

Jerusalem light rail
Jerusalem light rail
Meir Sela

The Palestinian Authority’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Wednesday blasted Israeli Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz’s new plan to connect the Jerusalem light rail to Ma'aleh Adumim and the towns in the Binyamin-Adam region and Givat Ze'ev.

Channel 2 News first reported of the plan on Tuesday. According to the report, the new light rail network will be added to the one already in place in Jerusalem. Four additional lines will be added, alongside other new lines that are already under construction.

The first line will travel south to Ma'aleh Adumim by way of French Hill. The second line will lead to Geva Binyamin where there is a large shopping center. The third line will go from Atarot to the Arab Qalandiya. And the fourth line will go to Givat Ze'ev, north of Jerusalem. An additional one will go to Mevasseret Yerushalayim.

In a statement quoted on the official WAFA news agency, the PA Foreign Ministry claimed such a plan would “undermine territorial continuity of the West Bank and transform it into disconnected cantons, making it impossible for the Palestinians to continue to live there.”

Katz’s plan was welcomed on Tuesday by Oded Revivi, mayor of the town of Efrat in Gush Etzion, who also requested that a sixth line be constructed to connect that region with Jerusalem.

"The long lines of cars in daily traffic jams at the southern entrance to Jerusalem would be alleviated and the number of traffic accidents would decrease sharply, if this heavily populated area were connected to Jerusalem by light rail," he said.

It is only a 15 minute drive from south Jerusalem to Efrat and about ten minutes to the Gush Etzion towns of Neve Daniel and Elazar, making the light rail a feasible option.