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Israeli municipality in Jerusalem approves expansion of railway to connect settlements

The almost $310m budget approved by the municipality financial committee would increase Israel's control over the city
An Israeli Jewish man crosses a street in front of the Jerusalem Light Rail, Jerusalem, 26 October 2020 (AFP)

The Israeli municipality of Jerusalem has allocated almost one billion shekels to development projects that would connect illegal settlements in the occupied eastern part of the city to its west.

The almost $310m budget approved by Jerusalem's municipality financial committee would empower Israel's sovereignty over the city. The projects to be built include infrastructure, a network of roads, the expansion of the light railway, which would connect Jewish areas in East Jerusalem to the western part.

According to the Israeli website Kol Hair, almost $6.8m will be allocated to develop the light train to connect the Ramot settlement to Gilo, another settlement near the Palestinian city of Bethlehem, south of the occupied West Bank.

Almost $29.1m will go to develop the light train within the urban areas of Jerusalem and $6.5m to expand the streets of Gilo and connect it to the highway, known as Begin Road, which leads from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv.

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Israel will also build a road and a railway stretch, linking the Hebrew University dorms and buildings near the Palestinian village of Issawiya to Givat Ram area in West Jerusalem.

Another project will be a $5.1m development of road expansion in the Palestinian neighbourhood of Beit Hanina to ease the traffic for settlers travelling to Pisgat Zeev and Neve Yaakov settlements in the eastern part of Jerusalem.

All these road projects will require building water, sewage networks and underground tanks for irrigation, Kol Hair reported.

Israel occupied East Jerusalem during the 1967 Arab-Israeli War. It annexed the entire city in 1980, in a move unrecognised by the majority of the international community.

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