The Supreme Muslim Council in Jerusalem blasted plans to construct a cable-car system above the capital to bring visitors to the Western Wall in the Old City, calling the proposal “dangerous”.
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat has pushed the plan, which is intend to alleviate pressure on existing transportation infrastructure to the Old City, as well as serve as a tourist attraction, giving riders a bird’s eye view of the city.
"The cable-car will enable people to reach the Old City without a car or a bus,” said Barkat. “What you see today is not the way Jerusalem will look in the future. Tomorrow I want to bring ten million tourists to these places, but without an infrastructure of trains, cable-cars, a fast train (to Tel Aviv), hotels, et cetera, we will not be able to enjoy this unique experience. In order to bring people from around the world, in order to understand who the real boss is in this city, we need to create infrastructure."
The head of the Supreme Muslim Council, Sheikh Ekrima Sa'id Sabri, spoke to the Arabic Al-Quds newspaper, claiming that the planned cable-car was part of a larger effort to cement the city’s Jewish character, and constituted an assault on the Islamic Waqf. He added that the project would desecrate Muslim cemeteries in the area.
Sabri, who has a long history of making provocative and anti-Semitic statements, has in the past denied that six million Jews were killed in the Holocaust, and has cited the notorious Protocols of the Elders of Zion to justify his views.
Sabri dubbed the cable-car plan “illegal” and demanded it be abandoned immediately.
Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah faction also condemned the planned project, warning that the “Palestinian people will never” permit the completion of the cable-car system.
A representative of the faction in Jerusalem, Rafat Alayan, added that if Israel did complete the cable-car project, the Jewish state would then seek to build a project linking Tel Aviv to the Muslim holy city of Mecca, in Saudi Arabia.