Source: Associated Press
By ILAN BEN ZION
JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel’s transportation minister is pushing ahead with a plan to dig a railway tunnel under Jerusalem’s Old City, passing near sites holy to Jews, Christians and Muslims — and ending at the Western Wall with a station named after President Donald Trump.
Yisrael Katz’s plan, currently in the initial stages, involves constructing two underground stations and excavating over 2 miles (3 kilometers) of tunnel beneath downtown Jerusalem and under the politically sensitive Old City. The project would extend Jerusalem’s soon-to-open high-speed rail line from Tel Aviv to the Western Wall, the holiest site where Jews can pray.
The route will run close to — but not directly under — the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, where tradition holds that Jesus was crucified and buried, and a contested holy site known to Jews as the Temple Mount and to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary. Previous excavations by Israel near the holy site — the spiritual epicenter of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict — have sparked violent Palestinian protests.
Because of those sensitivities, the proposal will likely meet with heavy resistance from the Palestinians, neighboring Arab countries and the international community.