(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Jenin could one day be only a train ride away from Jerusalem or Jordan, according to Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz.
His ministry has drafted a plan for a train that would link West Bank Palestinian and Jewish communities with the existing railway system that runs from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv and from Nahariya to Ashkelon.
Katz spoke of the plan as he toured Samaria on Tuesday.
He said that when the Emek rail line is revived, which would link Haifa with Afula, Beit She’an and then on to Jordan, an additional line could be developed with a connection to Jenin as well as to nearby West Bank settlements.
In the 1930s, there was a line that went from Haifa to Jenin and Nablus.
Katz also said he envisioned a line that would go from Jenin to Jerusalem.
“We are planning, together with the international community, to connect Jenin to the Emek line and to Jerusalem,” he said.
Easier transport of consumer goods and passengers would “advance the
peace process,” Katz said. “We want to extend our hand in peace. There
is room for dialogue.”
Plans have been drafted for such a rail line, but the approval process
had not begun and a cost estimate had yet to be prepared, the
minister’s spokesman said.
He added that it was easier to devise a security plan for a train than for other modes of transportation.
Hagit Ofran of Peace Now said she had not heard for such a plan, but
that the state had referenced a possible rail line between Ramallah and
Jerusalem in a court document.