Israel plans to name a proposed railway station in Jerusalem’s Old City after United States President Donald Trump as a way to thank him for recognising the city as the Israeli Capital, Reuters reported.
Transport Minister Yisrael Katz on Wednesday said he had chosen a proposed subway stop near the Western Wall to be named after Trump “for his courageous and historic decision to recognise Jerusalem as the Capital of the Jewish people and the State of Israel”.
The Old City, along with East Jerusalem, is the site of Palestine’s planned future Capital, which means the international community does not recognise Israel’s sovereignty over the region. Israel still wants to go ahead with its plan to extend Jerusalem’s high-speed rail line to the Western Wall in the Old City – a move likely to invite further international criticism.
The proposal for the rail line has not yet got full government approval, and it is not clear when it will start operations.
Palestine was quick to condemn the decision. “The Israeli extremist government is trying to race against time to impose facts on the ground in the city of Jerusalem,” Wasel Abu Youssef, a member of the Palestine Liberation Organisation’s Executive Committee, told Reuters.
On December 6, Trump formally recognised Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel, calling it “a long overdue step to advance the peace process”. Israel called the decision “historic”, even as several countries, as well as the United Nations, the European Union and the Vatican, criticised the move.
Two weeks later, 128 of the 193 members of the UN General Assembly voted in favour of a resolution calling on the US to withdraw its decision.
Jerusalem, which is revered by Jews, Christians and Muslims, is home to Islam’s third holiest site – the al-Aqsa mosque – and has been at the centre of the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians for decades. Israel captured East Jerusalem, which predominantly has Arab households, in 1967 and later annexed it in a move that is not recognised internationally.