Tel Aviv okays railway linking central Israel, W. Bank
Israel has approved construction of a planned rail line that will link central Israel to the northern West Bank, local media reported Friday.
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According to Israel’s Walla news website, Transport Minister Yisrael Katz said the rail line would link the central Israeli cities of Petah Tikva and Rosh Hayin to the Jewish-only Ariel settlement bloc in the northern West Bank.
The project is expected to be completed by 2025 at a total cost of $1.1 billion.
It remains in the planning phase, however, with three different routes -- of 29, 34 and 35 kilometers respectively -- currently being considered.
Ariel is considered one of the largest West Bank settlement blocs, hosting over 20,000 Jewish settlers and a university attended by some 14,000 students.
Approval of the planned rail line comes amid calls by right-wing Israeli groups to annex major West Bank settlement blocs.