Palestinian Authority denounces 'settler railway' that will 'connect' illegal Israeli settlements in West Bank

Palestinian Authority denounces 'settler railway' that will 'connect' illegal Israeli settlements in West Bank
2 min read
17 March, 2018
Palestinian officials have slammed an Israeli initiative to build a railway network between settlements as a 'serious escalation' of the colonial project to cement Israeli presence in the West Bank.
The first line connecting Ariel to Israel is planned to open in 2025 [Getty]
The Palestinian Authority (PA) has warned against a newly-revived plan to build a railway network connecting illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

The announcement of the settler railway is a "dangerous colonial settlement plan" that represents a "serious escalation" of the Israeli government campaign to "loot, steal and take control over" Palestinian land, said PA spokesman Youssef Mahmoud.

Mahmoud stressed that the plan is one of many attempts by Israel to impose its sovereignty and cement settler presence in occupied West Bank, making it difficult to ever realise a settlement evacuation process as part of a peace deal.

This would therefore destroy any prospect of an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital, added Mahmoud.

Mahmoud underlined that Palestinians will not stand for what Israel is doing in the West Bank, and will support their leadership as they face more and more challenges.

He pointed out that these steps taken by Israel will lead to more tension and narrow the possibility of reviving the peace process established by the international community.

The Palestinian side remains the committed party after the withdrawal of Israel and the Americans by way of President Trump's untenable and widely condemned stance which no Palestinian will accept, added Mahmoud.

In July 2013, Israeli authorities announced a plan to build a West Bank railway system to allegedly serve all populations in the West Bank. However it was subsequently slammed for being "tailored for Jewish settlers now and in the future, not the Palestinians," and will strengthen transport links between Israel and settlements and encourage more Israelis to move into the West Bank, according to Haaretz who first broke the news of the plan.

The plan was recently revived after Israel's Transport Minister Yisrael Katz approved the railway project, which is expected to be launched in 2025 with the first line - dubbed "Trans-Samaria" - planned to link the West Bank settlement "city" of Ariel to central Israel.