The Civil Administration's planning bureau will hold a hearing on Monday on a Peace Now demand that the planned route of the Jerusalem-Tel Aviv train be altered so as not to cut into privately owned Palestinian land in the West Bank.
At present, the plan involves turning Palestinian farmland into access roads for a tunnel and bridge near Mevasseret Zion, outside Jerusalem. Indeed, most of the rail line lies outside the jurisdiction of Israeli regional or local councils. The planned route passes through 50 dunams (about 12 acres) of land belonging to several Palestinian villages.
"The project was approved as part of the pan-regional rail system to Israel at large, and in the Judea and Samaria area, which, according to the plan, will include a connection between the major cities in the Judea and Samaria area, in accordance with the security and political situation," the Civil Administration said in September 2008, when Haaretz reported it had added a plan for a rail line to the West Bank city of Ramallah, in response to a court ruling stating that West Bank land could not be seized for the exclusive use of the Israeli population.
The Civil Administration said at the time that the planned train route in the West Bank primarily goes through a tunnel and over a bridge, thus minimizing any damage to the land.
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