Bringing train to Western Wall will ‘explode’ conflict: Palestinians

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Palestinians have warned that an Israeli plan to extend a new train line to a sacred site in the occupied Old City of Jerusalem al-Quds will lead to a dangerous conflagration.

The warning came after Israel’s Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz revealed a plan to extend the new express train linking Tel Aviv to Jerusalem al-Quds with a two-kilometer tunnel and end near the Western Wall.

The Western Wall is a remnant of the retaining wall of the compound known to Muslims as al-Haram al-Sharif (Noble Sanctuary) and to Jews as the Temple Mount.

In a statement, the Palestinian Foreign Ministry called on the international community and the United Nations to take action to thwart “this dangerous settlement escalation, which threatens to explode” the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Katz also floated another plan on Tuesday to connect Jerusalem al-Quds’ light rail to illegal Israeli settlements of Ma’aleh Adumim, Adam, Atarot, and Givat Ze’ev.

The Palestinians expressed their opposition to the scheme, saying it “threatens to turn their lives into an unbearable hell.”

They said the new light rail stations “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.”

The ministry condemned “in the strongest terms” the “colonial and Judaiazation” plans outlined by Katz, saying they are intended to annex the settlements and link them to Jerusalem al-Quds.

The Palestinian statement warned of “disastrous consequences for this expansion project,” which it said would “undermine any chance for peace.”

The UNESCO recently passed a motion, condemning Israeli construction projects in the Old City of Jerusalem al-Quds as well as well as casting doubt over Jewish links to the Noble Sanctuary and Western Wall.

The occupied territories have already been the scene of increased tensions ever since Israeli forces imposed restrictions on the entry of Palestinian worshipers into the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in East Jerusalem al-Quds in August 2015.

Nearly 250 Palestinians have lost their lives at the hands of Israeli forces since the beginning of last October.

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