A new high-speed railway connecting Jerusalem with the West Bank could soon open, with Israel’s prime minister describing it as the “ultimate solution” to the country’s problems with overcrowded rail lines.
The country has been struggling to find ways to alleviate the high levels of overcrowding on its railways, with the number of trains reaching an all-time high, and has also struggled to find solutions to its massive population of Palestinians.
The plan to connect Jerusalem to the West is a massive project that could transform the way the world sees and experiences the city of Jerusalem, with thousands of passengers on each line.
The high-capacity line will be the world’s largest, stretching almost 4,000 kilometers (2,000 miles), and is expected to cost between $3 billion and $4 billion.
The new line will run between the eastern city of Nablus and the northern city of Bethlehem, the largest Palestinian city in the West bank, which is also home to Israel’s largest settlement, the al-Aqsa Mosque compound.
Israel’s rail system, which has long been a source of tension with its Arab neighbors, was previously seen as the main bottleneck for the country.
However, the country has since begun to diversify its transport options, including expanding the rail network in recent years, with new lines linking the Mediterranean Sea to the Mediterranean and a new line connecting the West and East bank.
Israel’s first line, the Eilat-Jericho, is already operational and is the world leader in speed, but it has yet to be built, with plans for a new rail line connecting Jerusalem to Ashkelon to be completed by 2022.
Since the beginning of the Palestinian intifada, Israel has struggled to build new railways due to the restrictions of the Oslo accords, which forbid any building in the occupied West Bank.
In 2012, the Oslo Accords signed between Israel and the Palestinians ended the Palestinian presence in the city, with an agreement to transfer some of the West’s settlements to the Palestinians.
Since then, the Israeli government has been building new lines to connect the West to the East, which have seen heavy criticism from the United Nations.