Transportation minister Yisrael Katz.
Transportation minister Yisrael Katz. Photo by Ofer Vaknin
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Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz (Likud) announced Tuesday that the ministry was promoting a plan to establish a train network in the West Bank which will converge with the new train tracks planned throughout Israel.

Katz said that the plan had been drawn up with the cooperation of international organizations which have expressed great interest in the issue. He added that a train track is planned to run between Jenin, the Yizrael Valley and to Jerusalem.

During a tour of the West Bank, Kats said that in the past the entire area was netted with train tracks and reminded the settlers who escorted him that the first settlement in the West Bank was at the train station in the Arab town Sebastia.

Katz also mentioned the building of the new road, Highway 505, which is due to stretch from Tel Aviv to the Jordan Valley, and said that it was strategically important, yet it could not be built based on national reasons.

"I have given the instruction to promote the plan for the road, so that the route will be prepared," Katz said, adding that the road "could be useful both in times of peace and in times of war – during wartimes it would be good for transferring tanks, but I hope that during times of peace Israelis and Palestinians will travel on it."

The minister also said that construction in the West Bank would continue immediately after the construction freeze comes to an end, as "the freeze is not a solution, Jews will live here for ever."