New West Bank Rail Line Planned
Israel Railways has prepared a major plan for providing train service throughout the West Bank to serve both Israelis and Palestinians.
The plan, prepared at the request of Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz, calls for establishing 11 new rail lines, according to a map that Haaretz has obtained. Katz has on several occasions expressed his intention to build a railway network in the West Bank.
Except for the proposed line from Rosh Ha’ayin to the West Bank settlement of Ariel, the prospects for actually carrying out the entire scheme are seen as slim. There are diplomatic, legal and budgetary hurdles involved, as well as a need for cooperation with the Palestinian Authority, which administers large areas of the West Bank.
No target date has been set for implementing the plan and no cost estimate has been presented, although the sums involved would clearly be substantial.
The Transportation Ministry confirmed that it was pursuing the plan for the new rail lines “so as to permit it to be carried out in the future,” and in accordance with “a legal commitment the ministry made to the High Court of Justice.”