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Israel fast tracks settler-linked Jerusalem cable car project

Cable cars [Phil Guest/Flickr]

Israeli authorities are intent on fast tracking a controversial cable car project in Jerusalem whose route includes the occupied east of the city, reports Israeli NGO Ir Amim.

Yesterday, "a special committee charged with expediting large-scale infrastructure projects held its first open discussion on the controversial cable car project", the NGO revealed.

The cable car is planned to run between West Jerusalem (near Abu-Tor) and the not yet constructed Kedem Compound near the Mughrabi Gate of the Old City, "seamlessly" connecting "the western part of the city with a constellation of Elad settler group managed tourism enterprises in Silwan".

The cable car will, therefore, "route masses of visitors to the compound Elad intends to establish as the headquarters of its decades long campaign to settle the neighbourhood of Silwan".

At the session yesterday, "the mayor and director general of the Ministry of Tourism expressed strong support for the project, suggesting that the cable car is the only way to increase the volume of tourists in the Old City and claiming that it will serve the residents of Silwan."

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For Ir Amim, the project does "an immeasurable disservice to the residents of Silwan by further legitimising private settlement there", and violates "building and planning regulations designed to protect the historical and physical integrity of the Old City and its surrounding walls."

The cable car project is another compelling example of state sponsored private settlement under the guise of tourism. Officials have circumvented the local and district planning committees to fast track the plan, transferring authority to the National Infrastructure Committee

the NGO added.

The news comes just one week after US President Donald Trump declared his administration's recognition of Jerusalem as the united capital of Israel adding that the American embassy would be moved to the Holy City from Tel Aviv. The decision contravenes numerous UN resolutions and international law and has received global condemnation and caused a wave of protests.

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