April 11, 2012 5 Comments
Shortly after the Oslo Accords were signed, in the mid-1990s, the Israeli Government announced plans to build a light rail system (trams to you and me) that would unite East and West Jerusalem communities, ease the city’s notorious traffic problems, improve economic development and improve transport services to both Jewish and Arab communities in the East of the city. This would be particularly helpful to East Jerusalem Arabs, since a high proportion of them work in West Jerusalem but live in the Eastern areas of the city. It would also improve the infrastructure for Jewish suburbs such as Pisgat Ze’ev in the far North (and East) of the Jerusalem Municipality.
There are many groups internationally who are opposed to Israel’s reoccupation of her own ancient capital and determined that East Jerusalem should instead be the capital of a future Palestinian state. Throughout the planning and construction stages, these groups campaigned aggressively against the light railway (LRT), maintaining that it was designed to…
* Service Jewish “illegal settlements”, such as Pisgat Ze’ev
* Solidify Israel’s “illegal occupation” of East Jerusalem and make it irreversible
* Provide improved transport for Jews in East Jerusalem but not for Arabs
* Support Israeli “colonisation” of Palestinian land
Furthermore, the opposition groups claimed that the LRT would be bad for East Jerusalem’s Arabs, that the tram stops were inaccessible to Arab areas and that these Arab communities were themselves against the project and would not use the trams once they were running. Read more of this post