Middle East

Israel’s controversial new cable car will ferry tourists over Palestinian homes

Israeli NGO Emek Shaveh is considering a challenge to the cable car project. Source: Emek Shaveh

Approximately 3,000 people are expected to pass over homes each hour.

The Israeli government has given the green light to a divisive cable car project which will see thousands of passengers transported to some of the Old City’s key holy sites.

The cable car is expected to begin in West Jerusalem and swoop over a valley towards the Old City where tourists will be dropped off at the 16th-century Dung Gate.

Israel’s finance minister said the project will make it easier for worshippers to connect with the Western Wall.

Israel's government says the infrastructure project will help to reduce traffic congestion.
Israel's government says the infrastructure project will help to reduce traffic congestion.
Emek Shaveh

“We’ve waited 2,000 years to return to the Western Wall and it’s impossible that heavy traffic prevents thousands of people from praying,” Moshe Kahlon said.

However, like many infrastructure projects in the region, the latest concept is dividing opinion.

Many Palestinians view the move as a bid to shore up Israel’s presence in east Jerusalem, which they consider  Palestinian territory under Israeli military occupation.

The neighbourhood of Silwan is bracing for repercussions, with the cable slated to be built over the top of a traditionally-Palestinian community.

Senior Palestinian official Hanan Ashrawi said the plan is little more than “an illegal assault on the occupied Palestinian city and its people who have been living there for centuries".

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