Israel’s Supreme Court on Sunday ruled in favor of the Israeli government’s cable car project on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. The decision was enthusiastically received by supporters such as Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion, who claimed the project would, “rreducing air pollution in the region, solving transport and parking problems, and providing comfortable and efficient access to the Western Wall and the Old City. However, the project has also been condemned by many groups, including urban planners and architects, Palestinian activist groups, Karaite Jews (a minority sect with a cemetery located along the route of the proposed cable car), and environmental groups. .
Palestinian groups have criticized the proposed route as it would pass through East Jerusalem, an area originally granted to Palestinians in 1949 before being occupied by Israel in 1967 during the Arab-Israeli war. Ir-Amim, a pro-Palestinian group, has declared “[f]olks will jump into WJ [West Jerusalem] and have no idea that they are going over the heads of occupied Palestinians.
Ir-Amim also has alleged the cable car project is at least partially funded by the Elad Foundation (also called the Ir David Foundation). The Elad Foundation has funded controversial settlement efforts in Silwan, a predominantly Palestinian neighborhood in East Jerusalem, using a property rights concept called Absentee Property Rights. Elad has been linked to Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich in leaked bank documents called the FinCEN files.
The Jerusalem Municipality responded to criticism of the project by stating:
The cable car… will carry 3,000 passengers per hour in each direction at 21 km/h. This major infrastructure project, unique in the world, will raise the level of public transport service, make it more efficient and less congested for one of the busiest areas of the capital, and make the religious and historical sites of the old city accessible to people with reduced mobility. handicap… It is an ecological and environment-friendly means of transport, which will reduce noise, air pollution, circulation of public and private vehicles, and will preserve the particular topography of the southern basin of the Old City.
Efforts to stop the plan are expected to continue with groups such as Emek Shaveh, a non-profit archaeological organization, posting social media campaigns continuing to criticize the plan and a coalition of various organizations opposing the plan. publishing a guidance document.