TEL AVIV – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday announced a five-year development plan for the city of Jerusalem during a special cabinet meeting held in the Western Wall tunnels in honor of the 50th anniversary of the unification of the capital in the Six Day War.
“On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the liberation and unification of the city of Jerusalem, we are holding the government meeting here in the Western Wall Tunnels,” Netanyahu said of the weekly cabinet meeting that usually takes place in the Knesset.
Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat slammed Israel for holding the session in the tunnels, which the Palestinian leadership views as part of its territory. The area, together with the Temple Mount, was captured in the 1967 defensive war and Israel considers it to be under its sovereignty.
“The Israeli Government has decided to mark 50 years of occupation, and the beginning of the Holy Month of Ramadan, by sending a clear message to the Palestinian people that the systematic violations of their inalienable rights are going to continue,” Erekat claimed.
Netanyahu’s plan, which includes a new elevator to the Western Wall and a cable car project, is aimed at boosting Jerusalem’s tourism.
The elevator, which will allow much easier access to the holy site for people with disabilities, will descend from the Jewish Quarter in the Old City to the Western Wall plaza.
“We will open the Old City basin and improve the health, culture, welfare and education services in the city of Jerusalem,” he added.