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Israel is building a cable-car over Jerusalem, but Palestinians say it will deface its heritage Open in fullscreen

The New Arab

Israel is building a cable-car over Jerusalem, but Palestinians say it will deface its heritage

Hanan Ashrawi lambasted Israel [Getty]

Date of publication: 7 November, 2019

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Hanan Ashrawi said the controversial Israeli cable car project is an 'obscene violation' of Jerusalem's historic landscape.
A senior member of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) lambasted that the Israeli cable car project as an "obscene violation" of Jerusalem's landscape.

Hanan Ashrawi said the controversial project is an "obscene violation of the cultural, historical, spiritual, geographic [and] demographic character of Jerusalem", according to Palestinian Authority's official news agency WAFA.

"It is also an illegal assault on the occupied Palestinian city and its people who have been living there for centuries," she added.

On Monday, Israel approved the plan to construct a cable car to the Western Wall of Jerusalem's Old City.

The plan is opposed by architects, local Palestinian residents and environmentalists, who say it will cause irreversible damage to the historic Old City and affect resident's quality of life.

Israel's Housing Cabinet approved the project despite an inquiry sent by Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit days earlier, in which he warned that a plan of this scale should not be approved under a transition government.

The second general election this year took place on 17 September, but has yet to yield a new government as coalition negotiations falter.

Its construction would see a 1.4 kilometre cable car line stretch from the First Station Compound in West Jerusalem, over Abu Tor and Valley of Hinnom neighbourhoods, through the Mount Zion parking lot and onto the Kedem visitor centre from which visitors can walk to the Western Wall.

The Kedem visitor center is located in the Palestinian neighbourhood of Silwan, and critics fear the project will bolster the construction of settlements in Silwan neighbourhood.

Half-a-century of illegal occupation

Israel has occupied the West Bank illegally since 1967, committing various abuses against Palestinian civilians.

More than 600,000 Israeli Jews live in settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, in constructions considered illegal under international law.

The Oslo agreement of 1995 divided the occupied West Bank into three: Area A, Area B and Area C.

Area A is under the administrative and security control of the Palestinian Authority (PA). Area B's administration is controlled by the Palestinian Authority, with Israel controlling security. Area C is under full administrative and security control of Israel.

Along with stealing land, Israeli soldiers and settlers routinely harass Palestinians in the occupied territories in various ways.

Israeli forces and settlers routinely harass Palestinians in the occupied territories through harming and killing civilians, demolishing homes, poisoning livestock, vandalising property and other forms of violence.

Israel often forces Palestinians to demolish their own homes under the pretext of not having a building permits.

Applications for building permits often take years to be processed, giving Israeli courts a loophole to increase Palestinian home demolitions by branding structures as "illegal".

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