Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu convened a special cabinet meeting on Sunday in the Western Wall tunnels to mark the 50th reunification of Jerusalem, which was celebrated last week.
In addition to a NIS 50-million plan to improve accessibility to the Western Wall by building an elevator to the site from the Jewish Quarter and the construction of a cable car from the First Station in Baka to the Dung Gate, the cabinet also approved plans to improve public health, education and welfare facilities throughout the city, reduce air pollution, expand the Jerusalem International Convention Center and take steps to encourage government workers to live in the capital. Top Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat, meanwhile, condemned Israel for holding its weekly cabinet meeting at the site.“The Israeli government has decided to mark 50 years of occupation and the beginning of the holy month of Ramadan by sending a clear message to the Palestinian people that the systematic violations of their inalienable rights are going to continue,” Erekat said.He called on countries, which he said are allowing Israel to undertake “illegal actions,” to hold it accountable. “It is no longer acceptable that after 50 years of the Israeli occupation, for countries to claim to support the twostate solution while giving assurances to Israel that there will be no consequences for its illegal actions,” he remarked.Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the cabinet was meeting at the site where King Solomon built the First Temple, and where the returnees from Babylon built the Second Temple.“Thousands of years have passed, and the Jewish people returned to its land, established its state and is building its united capital,” he said.Adam Rasgon contributed to this report.
Netanyahu speaks at a cabinet meeting in the Western Wall (credit: GPO)