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Palestinians criticise Israeli rail plans

Palestinians have criticised plans for a new train line linking central Israel to settlements in the West Bank.

The line would run from the outskirts of Tel Aviv to northern West Bank, which Palestinians want as part of their future state. Israel’s presence in the area is not internationally recognised.

This dispute has only added to the tension between the nations, after Israeli and Palestinian governments recently failed to even agree on the conditions that would allow them to resume talks.

A report in the Maariv newspaper said Israel Railways has set aside £520,000 dollars to plan the line, while a spokesman for the company confirmed the existence of the proposal but refused to provide more details.

But a spokesman for the Palestiniain government in the West Bank was quick to condemn the move.

“This shows not only Israel’s short-term illegal activities in terms of settlement expansion, but its long-term planning and execution of colonial projects that aim at nothing less than ending the two-state solution,” Husam Zomlot said.

Direct talks between the sides officially resumed at the White House in September but collapsed weeks later after an Israeli freeze on settlement construction expired.

The Palestinians say they will not resume negotiations without an explicit Israeli commitment not to build in east Jerusalem, as well as in the rest of the West Bank, a condition the Israelis have refused to meet.

Israeli transport ministry spokesman Ilan Leizerovich said the new train line is only in the planning stage, along with other train lines, including some in the West Bank, and that there are no plans to actually begin work.

“There is no intention to carry it out at this time,” he said.

A spokesman for Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu had no immediate comment.

Readers' comments (1)

  • I understand it is somehow about civil engineering etc, but there are more political comments in this article than probably in the Maariv newspaper!

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