Israel’s supreme court green-lights controversial Jerusalem cable car plan

Israel’s Supreme Court on Sunday rejected four petitions that seek to block a controversial plan to build a cable car network to East Jerusalem’s Old City, the court said in a statement.

In a unanimous decision, the three-judge panel rejected the petition lodged by Palestinian residents, environmentalists, and scholars, among others, ending the legal process of derailing the plan to build the 1.4-km cable car line.

“There has been no flaws … in the way the government advanced” the plan, the court said.

Israel’s Tourism Ministry has been advancing the plan along with the Jerusalem municipality, saying the cable car line, with a planned capacity of 3,000 people per hour, can solve heavy traffic around Old City, where its many sites are holy to Muslims, Jews and Christians.

Opponents argued that the cable facilities would alter the ancient landscape and complicate the situation of the disputed area.

East Jerusalem, annexed by Israel in 1967, has long been wanted by the Palestinians as the capital of their future independent state, while Israel insists on having all of Jerusalem as its eternal capital.

Palestine Liberation Organization slammed the plan as “an obscene violation of the cultural, historical, spiritual, geographic and demographic character of Jerusalem” and “an illegal assault on the occupied Palestinian city and its people who have been living there for centuries.”

Most of the international community does not recognize Israel’s sovereignty over East Jerusalem. ■