Israel Launches Illegal New Railway to Jewish Settlements

  Fri Nov 26, 2010 6:51PM

A high speed Israeli train in West Bank, file photo
Tel Aviv is criticized for building a high speed bullet train railway line that links central Israel to the Jewish settlements built on the occupied Palestinian lands in the West Bank.

The bullet train line is supposed to run in 28 minutes from the suburbs of Tel Aviv to the illegally annexed East al-Quds (Jerusalem), where Palestinians hope to establish the capital of their future state. Israel Railways has budgeted USD 820,000 to plan the line, Maariv newspaper reported on Friday.

Some four miles of the proposed train route, parts of which have already been constructed, runs through Palestinian lands in the West Bank.

The residents of Beit Surik, a Palestinian village set to be severely affected by the train’s route, are calling for international intervention.

“We, the people of Beit Surik, do not want the train line to be built on our land,” they wrote in a public letter. “We see as fundamentally important that the people of the world support our right to decide on the use of our own land and help us change the route of this train line.”

The announcement of the new Israeli train line plan has drawn sharp criticism from the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority.

“This shows not only Israel’s short-term illegal activities in terms of settlement expansion, but its long term planning and execution of colonial projects that aim at nothing less than ending the two-state solution,” a Palestinian Authority spokesman Husam Zomlot said.

The Israeli peace organization Coalition of Women for Peace is also launching a campaign to stop the train, and appealing to foreign activists to target those international companies involved in the project.

“According to international law, an occupier may not use the occupied resources solely for the benefit of its own citizens,” the group wrote in a report the outlines the effects the train line will have on Palestinian communities.

The report also noted, “This line was planned for the exclusive use of Israeli citizens; it is imposed on the local Palestinian residents by the dictates of a military regime, in which they have no representation; and it would be completely inaccessible to the local residents.”

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