Israel uses occupied Palestinian lands for high-speed rail link

Israel uses occupied Palestinian lands for high-speed rail link
Passengers of the rail link will be able to go from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in 40 minutes, but Palestinians at large are not allowed to use the trains.
2 min read
26 September, 2018
The train will run from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem [Getty]
Israel is building a rail-link form Tel-Aviv to Jerusalem that passes through parts of the occupied West Bank, in a move that Palestinians believe is further institutionalising the occupation on their territories.

The scheme is a part of a $2 billion project to build a high-speed rail link between Tel Aviv's Ben Guirion Airport and  Jerusalem within 40 minutes, with trains travelling at speeds of up to 160 kilometres per hour (100 mph).

The line will also run through parts of the occupied West Bank, such as the Palestinian village of Beit Surik, located on the outskirts of Jerusalem and in the Latrun Valley.

Despite the fact the rail link will illegally use Palestinian land, Palestinians will generally not be allowed to take advantage of the new form of transport.

Palestinians who live in the West Bank are not allowed to travel to Israel after returning from travelling abroad via Ben-Gurion. Instead, they must cross overland to Jordan instead to fly out of the airport in Amman.

"It is very sad that you see a railway and see modern technology on your land and inside your land and you cannot use it or exploit it because of the element of power of the occupation," Mohammed al-Tari from Beit Surik, told Reuters.

51 years of illegal occupation

Israel has occupied the West Bank illegally since 1967, committing various crimes 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.

Along with stealing land, occupying Israeli forces and settlers routinely torment Palestinians in various ways.

Earlier this month, the UN published a report saying that Israeli occupation keeps Palestinian Territories in a state of perpetual poverty.

"Over the years, Israel established a complex matrix of controls over the Palestinian economy featuring a permit system, roadblocks, earth mounds, trenches, road checkpoints, road gates and the Separation Barrier," the report said.

"[The Occupied Palestinian Territories] has the highest unemployment rate in the world, and women and youth are disproportionately impacted by the joblessness crisis. Construction of illegal Israeli settlements and annexation of Palestinian land accelerated. Gaza continues to slide on a path of de-development as a grave humanitarian crisis deepens."