Israel planning 475km rail network in West Bank

27 February 2012 (Last Updated February 27th, 2012 18:30)

Israel Railways (IR) has proposed a plan to build a 475km rail network in the occupied West Bank to serve both Israelis and Palestinians.

Israel Railways (IR) has proposed a plan to build a 475km rail network in the occupied West Bank to serve both Israelis and Palestinians.

As per the plan prepared at the request of Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz, IR will build the rail system comprising of 11 new lines, according to Israeli daily Haaretz.

An unnamed Israeli railway official confirmed to French news agency, AFP that the plan was prepared at the request of the Israeli Ministry of Transportation.

"We have presented a plan sought by the transport ministry, but for the moment nothing has been done on the ground," the official said.

The proposed line will run from Hebron in the south to Jenin in the north, and linking the Jordan Valley in the east with the Green Line on the Israel border in the west.

West Bank rail network would include one line running via Jenin, Nablus, Ramallah, Jerusalem, Ma’aleh Adumim, Bethlehem and Hebron, while the other line will provide a service along the Jordanian border from Eilat to the Dead Sea, Jericho and Beit She’an. The service would then go toward Haifa in the west and also in a northeasterly direction.

The proposed plan also includes shorter routes between Nablus and Tul Karm in the West Bank, and from Ramallah to the Allenby Bridge crossing into Jordan. It also includes infrastructure that would connect the rail lines at a later stage to the Gaza Strip and Arab countries.

According to Haaretz, the map was presented in December to the top planning council of the Israel Defense Forces’ Civil Administration.

IR has not disclosed the target date for implementation of the project and it has not given any cost estimate.